Topic 14: Awareness Tools

June 14th, 2010

Internet users are getting more and more interested in social news sites as they lead us into a “user-driven democracy.”  However, this new way of circulating information has its consequences as well. Digg.com, for example, has recently been receiving some criticism for allowing users to have so much influence in how information is spread. Wikipedia says “it has allowed sensationalism and misinformation to thrive” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digg  ). There have been instances of very misleading headlines, such as the example below ( http://web.archive.org/web/20070809235643/http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2007/2/14/131127/709  )

Headline: Nintendo News | GameCube Finally Dies

Summary: Nintendo GameCube is dead, in Taiwan anyway. The official distributor of Nintendo’s purple cube in the country has announced that it’ll stop selling the machine there with only 1,000 units being ordered in 2006 alone. Future orders will only be made if demand increases.

I can only imagine the panic that ensued in everywhere else but Taiwan as gamers believed the GameCube to be dead, lol.

Here’s another example of a completely misleading headline and summary combo:

Headline: Women gives birth, wakes up without arms or legs

Summary: A young lady goes to the hospital to give birth and wakes up without arms or legs. The hospital refuses to explain why they left her as a multiple amputee. In a letter, they wrote that she would have to sue them to find out what happened. She can’t even carry her newborn child. Help bring attention and digg it up, please.

Apparently, almost two weeks had passed between the birth and the amputation, so she did not simply pop out a baby and then wake up limbless. Also, the hospital did explain why the amputation was necessary – she had toxic shock syndrome.

Image credits: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/105/285817854_8a5cf2961f.jpg


2 Responses to “Topic 14: Awareness Tools”

  1. anna on June 14, 2010 6:48 pm

    I can’t stand these kinds of headlines. I don’t know if it’s a new trend or something I’ve (we’ve?) only just started noticing, but it’s cheap and kind of demeans the trust of the newspaper. >:\

  2. ZakT on June 16, 2010 3:48 am

    I think it’s unfair to blame the fake articles themselves, because I believe it’s up to the user to determine what information is accurate. You can’t go through life taking whatever you read or hear as fact, and everyone must develop the skill to discern fact from fiction. Personally I find a lot of this fake internet news to be quite amusing.

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