More information is produced now than ever before and is becoming increasingly entwined in our everyday lives (Bawden & Robinson, 2009, p.181). There are several characteristics of how information is produced in these new models of information production.
The growth of the internet, world wide web and social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have enabled people to connect easily with others.
However, with the introduction of faster and easier connections comes new models of information production and perception of information. With the ever-increasing amount of information available there is a perception that information is easily provided and should be free content (De Saulles, 2012, p.33)
The effect of increased information and changes to the way information is accessed has changed the way some organisations present their information. One such example are newspapers, which have had to move some of their content online and even incorporate content from online viewers. However, this move to online services has also resulted in some content having to be paid for to cover production costs or a blurring of boundaries into more ‘popular’ content with attached adverts (De Saulles, 2012, p.23) or sponsored content (De Saulles, 2012, p.20).
With digital technologies comes the ability for organisations to reach people easily and promote their information. As Firmstone and Coleman’s (cited in DeSalles, 2014, p.18) example shows Leeds City Council has used the advent of social media to connect with people in their district. Other spaces such as libraries and museums are also connecting with their patrons via social media platforms, such as Sydney Living Museums Twitter and Facebook feeds.
There are several challenges these new models of information present for educators. These challenges are based around how to find, use and question information and give credit to other users. Challenges include but are not limited to the following:
- Students need to be taught to question information – is there a motive other than to provide information? (is the author trying to sell something or influence the reader in some way?)
- People need to learn how to sift through the myriad of information available (Bawden & Robinson, 2009, p.182) or they may suffer from information overload or overwhelm.
- Some information may not be readily available to everybody – schools may have to pay for information – such as subscription services to World Book Online etc.
- Companies such as Google and Facebook only show information they think appropriate to the user based on the user’s searches, likes etc.
- Due to the collaborative nature of information on the internet students must question is the information true? correct? (De Saulles, 2012, p.19) or biased? For example, Wikipedia’s information may be skewed by the demographics contributing to it (De Saulles, 2012, p.32).
- Being able to find and give correct credit to users who generate their own content that is then ‘aggreated’ by others (De Saulles, 2012, p.18).
Whilst the new models of information provide many benefits, users must be able to find the information they need and question its validity and usefulness.
What other challenges do you see occurring with new models of information production?
Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2009). The dark side of information: overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies. Journal of Information Science, 35(2), 180–191.
De Saulles, M. (2012). New models of information production. In Information 2.0: new models of information production, distribution and consumption. Facet Publishing.