Posted by: henriquesampaio | July 14, 2011

Being connected no longer means being well informed or, even less so, educated.


The internet phenomenon and the explosion of information have been prompting a growing number of reflections, especially by journalists and essayists.

In the cult of the amateur, Andrew Keen points at the lack of credibility of most information and opinions offered on blogs and virtual encyclopedia. In Blur – Not yet released in Brazil – Bill Lovach and Tom Rosenstiel talk about the lack of focus of generation that only values things that are immediate and interactive, to the detriment of the past and independence. Bill Keller recently wrote in the New Your Times About the social network “trap”, as information is provided out of context and “friends” replace genuine personal relationships. (http://tinyurl.com/3qldumj)

Kovach and Rosenstiel say that “in the 21st century, more information is produced in three years than in the last 3000,000 years”, without really explaining the criteria used for reaching this figure. The fact is the today a 14-years old can have access to a wealth of information not even Bertrand Russell had access to one hundred years ago. However, say the authors, current readers do not have what Russell had aplenty: Analytical Skills. They do not even have those required for absorbing data and news reports in a critical, questioning manner without the dazzle and fads that seem to be setting the tone more and more, as evidenced by the celebrity culture.

“The main information gap in the 21st century is not between those who have access to the internet and those who don´t”, writes the duo of veteran US journalists. “It´s between those capable of creating knowledge and those who only reaffirm prejudices, without any development and learning.” The most recent surveys on the activity on the worldwide web point out that 90% of it refers to the exchange of messages over social networks, emails and interactions – less than 10% share content, i.e., use this wonderful research and knowledge tool. Being connected doesn´t mean being well informed or, even less so, educated.

I do not mean to draw a picture of cultural apocalypse. Keen, Kovach, Rosenstiel and Keller are voracious web users, write on blogs and twitters, interact with readers and know that their lives are divided between b.G. and a.G. – before Google and After Google. But, for that very same reason, they are worried about tomorrow´s users, who may not have the same discerning skills in order to distinguish the figures and reliefs amidst the haze of information. Schools barely participate in this world, remaining slow and linear; the mass media only reinforced by their parents – dream of fame and of never being displeased.

Major transformations always bring about major challenges.

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