Posted by: shineonali | May 31, 2010

World Wide Web: Use Your Power For Good

Lately, we are hearing about many examples of how social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are revolutionizing the way news is reported and information is relayed.  It is amazing that Iranians were able to tell about what was happening after the election there last year, for example.  Jeff’s post about teaching filtering skills raised really important concerns about this.  The potential for the spread of misinformation, the danger people seem willing to put themselves in, and the power of the sensational over the sensible scares me more than a little.  I take my role in teaching information literacy ever more seriously.

Last night I stumbled across this little TED talk by Erik Hersman.  I like that the people with the skills to do something about the inundation of information recognize the problem and are trying to help.

I think the web is a powerful tool, and that overall, our lives are richer for it–as educators, learners, and human beings.  The conversations about the potential for the web to be powerful in negative ways have to happen, though, in order to keep us from becoming complacent.  Kind of like the discovery of fire…back in the day.  Sure, the early humans who figured out how to start a fire found that it provided warmth, light, and protection.  But they had to be constantly aware of the consequences of not paying attention to its danger.

Maybe the title of my post should be revised.   The web, like any tool, is only as powerful (or smart) as the person using it.  According to a recent post on Mashable, a woman in Utah is suing Google because she was hit by a car while following walking directions given by Google Maps.

So EVERYONE, let’s all try to use our power for good.

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