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The Digital Age of Information

Socrates said, "the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."

If you scroll through your feed every day, you might find this quote amidst a backdrop of flowers or animals someday. Till then, remember Socrates was the one who said it.

Socrates also said, "I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others." This quote brings us to the complexity that the present era poses before us.

The world in the digital age is literally at our fingertips now, starting with computers, music players, phones, tablets, e-book readers, and what is now known as a "virtual assistant." And with this world comes a wealth of data.

Google defines "information" as "facts provided to learn something." With the world at our fingertips, we have access to several facts that help us learn many things.

We now have:

  1. Search engines which include Google and Bing

  2. Online dictionaries like HarperCollins and Merriam-Webster

  3. Online encyclopaedias like WikiHow and Wikipedia, and of course

  4. Social media networks - the newly christened "Meta" and its associations.

We have access to audio, visual, and audio-visual content in the digital era, but with great power comes tremendous responsibility. As we scroll through different portals, it becomes our choice what knowledge to absorb and what not. As human beings, we feel it is significant to provide our opinion on every topic we come across. It makes our day interesting, discussing issues about other people and from around the world. It may also make one feel like they matter to more than just those around them. But putting our opinions out there can have more consequences than we can imagine, and it is always good to think twice or more before you act.

A popular news piece going around would be the IIT alumni who criticized an Indian cricketer's defeat and threatened his infant daughter with assault. The person in question was arrested and recently got bail, but everyone now recognizes him for what he did. This piece of news makes you think. Doesn't it? 

The famous game -"Chinese whisper" can be used to tell another eye-opening story about the dangers of consuming information from social media and mass communication. Most of us have played it in our childhood or know someone who has. It involves children sitting in a circle where the first person whispers something in the ear of the adjacent person. This individual must then add something to the original information before passing it on to the next person, and so on. When the whisper returns to its source, it frequently leaves a hilarious trail of strange words strung together. As a childhood joke went, "I sprained my leg and returned to school after a week only to find out I was dead."

When thought deeply, this is how online journalism can be misused, very frequently seen while reporting entertainment or political news.

Should we all then refrain from posting our views on social media? Now, that wouldn't be very advantageous for society, would it? Some unspoken standards for safe online communication exist to make it easier for us to converse.

  • For starters, one should always avoid using slang while posting. A slang, especially an abusive one, takes the point away from your statement and focuses on your uncivilized demeanour.

  • Another precaution you can take is research. Research is pre-set for journalism in education, society, as well as informal get-togethers. Research is the most crucial part of both journalism and communication. Knowing whatever there is to know about a subject will enable you to create an accurate opinion and avoid deceiving yourself or others. To summarise, never post something about which you are unable to give a speech. 

  • Thirdly, before posting something on global media, ponder upon the need for it. Will you be adding something significant to other people's bank of knowledge? Will you be doing the world a favour by putting forward your point? Or are you just posting out of spite to win a debate with someone? It is always wise to put forward opinions only when necessary.

  • Once your language on the Internet, your research on the topic, and your stance are proper, the next thing to do is believe yourself to be humble. "Post" your opinion and let all comments arrive under them before retaliating. While the start and the end of any endeavour matter the most, the middle makes it what it is.

We frequently speak, write, and now post without giving our material any thought throughout our lives. While candour is a joyful release of our emotions, it is always helpful to take a moment before making any movement. Our content is what we're responsible for, and if we can rise, that's how far we can fall as well.

Thus, in the digital era, it's critical to consider how much you're taking in and how much you're letting out. A little knowledge goes a long way.

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Tags: #socialmedia #news #media #digital #information #socialresponsibility


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