Module 7 Module 7 Module 7 Module 7
Module 7 Presentation Readings Assignments
No Narrated Presentation for this Module
Go back to Module 6, Part 4 - Advertising Techniques, Emotion

Internet Literacy

A Lie is as good as the Truth - if people believe you.

As of January 1, 2003, 175 million people in the US and Canada were using the Internet - 500 million world wide. They aren't all downloading MP3 files, so they must be receiving and exchanging information.

In addition to individuals going on-line for news, a recent survey showed that about two-thirds of journalists use the Internet for research. "Many journalists remain woefully untrained and sometimes engage in questionable ethical practices when using the Internet."

Click here to read "Media Plays Fast, Loose with Ethics Online."

So is the information you are getting and journalists using any good? The difference between and is clear. One is the most popular on-line adult site. But what about or

I give seminars to school systems and parents on children's use of the Internet. One point I like to make is that in chat rooms and in e-mail, it's impossible to tell if that is really a Ph.D. from MIT you are talking with or just a 13 year old with no social life.

Even advertisers are aware of the dubiousness of information from the Internet.

"All this is a reaction to the fact that traditional media marketing is crumbling, just crumbling," says Jeff Hicks, president of the Miami-based advertising firm Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which recently designed an interactive Web site for Burger King that shows a person dressed in a chicken suit who acts out, á la amateur webcam porn, the instructions given to him/her/it by Web surfers who click on the site."

Click here to read "A Ruse Awakening on the Web."

Click here to read "Web Hoax Fools News Services"

"Kirchner said the concept behind the hoax was to show how easy it is to make something fake look real. She and her two fellow filmmakers, she said, wanted to challenge others to question the validity of material that is presented as fact.

"What is amazing," she said, "is the power of the Internet. One person gets the file, they share it with someone else. It eventually ends up on some Arab TV station and is believed as the real thing."

Click here to read "Seeing is no longer believing"

"Today, with the advent of inexpensive software, the manipulation of digital images is easier, faster, and harder to detect. As a result, the ethics of manipulation - the line between "improving" an image and altering it - are more vital to preserving public trust."
Now that you've seen how easy it is to manipulate information on the internet and, by extension, to manipulate the media, think about how this information fits in with the concepts from the "Warp Speed" article.

Evaluating Different Types of Internet Resources

1) Electronic Journals

  • Some of the questions an Internet Detective needs to ask:
    · what is the coverage and what information is available online - tables of contents, abstracts, full text of some articles, full text of every article...?
    · who has published the journal on the Internet and how reputable is this publisher?
    · are articles peer reviewed or filtered by editors and proof readers?
    · will some users be able to access more information than others? For example, is there a charge, a need for a site license?
    · is special software/hardware required?
    · are archives of previous editions of the journal available?
    · is the site kept up to date?

2) Mailing Lists

  • An Internet Detective might ask:
    · What is the purpose of the list - who is the target audience of the list and what type of messages are acceptable to send?
    · is the list moderated? (i.e. do messages have to pass the scrutiny of the list owner before they are posted to the list). If so what is the level of knowledge of the moderator?
    · how many members does the list have and what is their status?
    · how much traffic is there on the list? (i.e. how many messages are posted a month?)
    · is the list open (anyone can join) or closed?
    · does the list have a home page?
    · are archives of the list messages available? If so how far back do they go? Can they be keyword searched?

3) Organizational Sites

  • Some of the issues an Internet Detective might concentrate on:
    · who is the author or publisher of the site? Are they reputable?
    · can cross checks be made to verify that the author and publishers stated are genuine?
    · is the purpose of the site stated?
    · are the sources of factual information clearly stated?
    · are there contact details for the authors of the site?
    · how current is the site and the information it points to - is it well maintained?
    · who pays for the site and are they an objective source or do they have an agenda to advance?

4) Subject-based Sites

  • An Internet Detective might ask:
    · is the site just a list of external links or is there some unique content or added value?
    · how good is the subject coverage?
    · who has created the site and how authoritative are they on this subject?
    · how current is the site and the information it points to - is it well maintained?
    · who pays for the site and are they an objective source or do they have an agenda to advance?
Click here to read "Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet" "a checklist for discovering quality in Web-based information, commentary on technical trickery, examples of bogus Web sites, and resources for learning more.

Click here for a printable version of the checklist "Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet".

Finally, go to the Assignments page and complete the Module 7 Assignment.

This is an official FGCU web page. Revised 01/01/2011
©2011, Terry Dugas

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