I is for..........Information.
I had an interesting conversation with my students last week. We were doing some prep work for the upcoming standardized reading test, going over practice questions provided by the state. One of the questions sparked an interesting conversation. I don't remember the exact wording, but basically, here's the question:
If you wanted to know what educational programs Sea World provides, which source would provide the most relevant information?
a) an atlas
b) a dictionary
c) a website
d) an encyclopedia
Most of the kids got this easily: the website, of course. I told the kids this question made me feel old. When I was in 8th grade, there were no websites. Hell, people didn't even have computers. That really blew the kids' minds. How did we live?
Now we walk around with computers in our phones and everything you want to know can be found on some website or other. All this has had me thinking about how I get my information, specifically how I stay informed about current events.
Traditional newspapers are just about a thing of the past. I can't remember the last time I read an article in an actual newspaper. We still have the paper delivered on the weekend, but that's just to get the coupons. I'm sure we won't need to do that much longer. I used to get a lot of my news from TV, CNN and the like, but I find myself doing that less and less. TV news is mostly commentary now, and I can't take all the talking heads passing off their opinions as news.
Nowadays my main source of information is Twitter. I follow my favorite newspapers and pick and choose from the constantly updating headlines. Instead of watching CNN, I follow on Twitter and only look at what's of interest. It's actually quite an effective filter. People are always posting links to interesting articles. Follow enough people on Twitter and you'll hit just about every opinion on anything going on in this great big world of ours.
A lot of people scoff at Twitter. Why do we need to know every waking thought of people we barely know, that kind of thing. And sure, a lot of people tweet minutia that even their closest friends and family don't want to hear about. All that crap is easy enough to avoid and filter out. Once you learn how to use Twitter effectively, it's a great tool for managing the tidal wave of information that modern life sends at us every day.
How do you get your information these days?