Our exploration of ‘Digital Differences’ in the last topic alluded to cracks in the fabric of the internet (Futurelearn, 2018). This topic has shown exactly how those cracks can be exploited, opinions rigidified and even worsened over time. The reliability and authenticity of sources of information is paramount in fast-paced, ever-changing online discourse. The dangers of inauthentic sources have become clearer through this topic: agendas can be pushed; falsehoods can become truths.
I have fallen into the trap – citing an unverifiable slice of an otherwise invalid blog in my Digital Differences blog in order to “confirm” my own opinion. As such, this topic has been the perfect one to correct the course of my work and to underline the dangers of the internet.
The breadth of discourse on this topic was immense, and as I had focussed so much on broadcast media’s subtle reaffirmation of agendas through manipulation of the ‘Overton Window’ and through graphics, the range of blogs nurtured a wider understanding of the topic.
Adrian’s blog – especially his clear graphics – solidified my understanding of the key terms of the topic, notably that of the ‘Echo Chamber’ and the ‘Filter Bubble’. However, my challenging of his idea that echo chambers are ‘forming out of our hands’ has not yet been rebutted, and reinforces my own notion that web platforms must own some responsibility and show their users a range of views and information.
Stephanie’ blog – and her follow ups to my comment – revolved around the importance of media literacy. Our debate reaffirmed the importance of comedy in allowing people light relief on difficult issues. Indeed, comedy has become one of the most vital platforms of discourse and allows audiences to ingest and digest important information through entertainment.
‘Political satire only works when it’s able to describe the world as it actually is’ (Carlos Maza, 2017). Trapped inside filter bubbles and echo chambers, and with endless agendas and media spins, often the world simply needs to be accurately described.
Maza, Carlos, ‘Comedians have figured out the trick to covering Trump’, Vox, April 2017, <https://www.vox.com/2017/4/3/15163170/strikethrough-comedians-satire-trump-misinformation>.
Futurelearn, ‘Digital Differences – inequalities and online practices’, Futurelearn, 2018, <https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/learning-network-age/4/steps/303344>.
My comment on Stephanie’s Blog.
My comment on Adrian’s Blog.