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Are People Better Informed Today?

Posted January 15, 2011 7:00 AM

While newspapers and broadcast outlets struggle to survive in the Internet age, a recent Rasmussen report claims 67% of the people they interviewed say they are better informed today than they were 10 years ago! Of course, not everybody uses the Internet, and older people prefer television news, but nearly half those interviewed say the Internet is the best way to get news and information, even though they expressed uncertainty about the quality of the information they find there. Has the Internet really educated people, or do they just think they are better informed?

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#1

Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/15/2011 8:29 AM

So, no actual study was done to quantify whether people actually are better informed. Someone conducted a survey asking people their opinions to see if they thought they were better informed, and now the question is being posed here asking our opinions about their opinions?

Well my opinion is that being a sociologist is as much fun as wading upstream against a river of mud.

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#2

Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/15/2011 5:39 PM

Having more access to information does not mean that people are more informed.

It just means they get more opinions disguised as facts tossed their way than ever before that tends to cause them to have less reasons to check that information out to see if its true or not.

Climate change anyone?

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#3

Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/15/2011 6:37 PM

The internet is used to distribute misinformation at least as often as it is information, if not more. The nightly news has become nothing more than a propaganda machine. Both present opinion as fact.

The internet has provided me a way to be better educated, but not better informed. I use it to look up facts and figures when working on DYI projects, whether it's plumbing, electrical, etc. I don't really give a crap about opinions, regardless of how well they're presented.

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#4
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Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/16/2011 1:29 AM

Today It's is a double edged sword. 10 years ago, the Internet was still somewhat new to most folks and I think then information was more real. Today, most news sites are all propaganda vessels. So no, information as for news is bad and biased. As for what I do, I cross check all information I am interested in that I need to know. There is a lot of bad info out there and you have to know and you have to recheck the info you are looking for. It is out there, you just have to look for it and not just look at 1 site and say oh, OK. Politics are one that has almost every angle possible, most BS I have ever read is from political sites. Engineering, most of the sites I use I have been using for years and they do change as things change in my industry. This also goes along with the other posting that was asking about engineers going back to school. Personally I don't think any engineer ever stops learning in any capacity. I am always looking forward to learning more every day, even at my age. I learn things every day. And the day I stop, will probably be my last day. As for what the internet has to offer, there is much, but you also need to be careful of the information as another poster has already stated, there is more misinformation then real information on the web. Any one remember the BBS's? 110 and 300 baud modems? What a step up to the 300 ey! What memories. Anyone remember DOS? Basic?

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Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/16/2011 6:51 AM

You are so very correct. We have more information available to the masses than ever before. An informed citizenry is supposed to be able to make better decisions about life, politics, etc. However, there's so much information that is untrue and misleading that it's almost impossible to come up with the whole truth. I think the problem is that we accept salesmanship above truth. We accept that it's ok for a salesman to put on the good side of an item or topic. Most people think that's ok because that's just salesmanship. I mean, in particular, they don't mention the downside of an item or topic. We seem to accept "CAVEAT EMPTOR" as acceptable. Lying, misleading, pertinent omissions are all wrong. And with all this available information, we're getting more of it.

Oh, well, it's still a beautiful world.

PAPADOC

RMFR

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#6
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Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/16/2011 7:04 AM

C://Irememberdos.exe

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#7

Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/16/2011 11:30 AM

HA!

I've asked myself a similar question before about the internet. When I get these stupid emails that present some radical idea as a fact just to create more ignorance, I typically respond by finding the article on Snopes and then linking that in my reply.

One day I asked myself "if I don't trust the information in the email, what reason do I have to trust Snopes?"

So now, I don't trust anything on the internet including this article and all of its responses. That includes my response to this article...o wait, now I don't trust myself...o no, if I don't trust myself then why should I try anything outside of the internet?

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#8

Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/16/2011 6:04 PM

It all comes down to discernment. There is 100x more B.S. out there but you now have 10,000x faster access to it.

Are peoples B.S. filters any better?

People who have convictions built upon beliefs will still hear what they want to hear. They don't do their homework, they get on the band wagon.

For those that really want to understand and discern what the issues and motivations are, it is interesting times.

My opinion: the 67% are easier informed not better; For the 2-15% that do their homework, they are way better informed.

Quantitatively the only way to really measure how well is to look back in 100 years and see who was actually correct.

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#9

Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/16/2011 8:14 PM

There is a very fine line between information and propaganda. It takes me quiet a bit time and effort even trying to discern between the two.

The discrimination of people not on the net is as bad as it can get. We don't know how 'they' are kept up to speed and they don't know what we are or can get up to by using this tool. It's a disturbing gap, at least for me.

Being faster does not make us superior. Most, if not all of the "Old" books still have more relevance that any artificially created forum where catch as catch can rules the roost. Modern man is as informed as he wants to be and as much as he can differentiate, based on his knowledge and the willingness to keep learning.

In the end it will always be the salt in the soup that makes the difference. Not much of it but just enough to make it tasty. The stew is a huge mess and nourishes whoever wants to eat it.

Rasmussen report claims 67% of the people they interviewed say they are better informed today than they were 10 years ago!

Well, they'd better be, Ky.

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#10
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Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/16/2011 8:16 PM

o no, if I don't trust myself then why should I try anything outside of the internet?

Because you can, that's why!

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#11
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Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/16/2011 8:29 PM

I don't really give a crap about opinions, regardless of how well they're presented.

Does that mean the the GA's you have given me in the past where just lip service?

BTW, the only way to know how negative the influence of alcohol is, is to stop for at least 6 months. Howzat for good advice? Never to be taken unless something really bad happens and "it" can be blamed.

Transplanting experience is impossible, reading statistics is boring. Life is like a box of choc................. my behind, I know, Ky.

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#12
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Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/16/2011 8:58 PM

Bottom line... people who don't exercise discernment are NEVER well informed. It doesn't matter how much is available to them.

The internet is full of junk but it's not all junk either. You have the choice of utter BS, some access to plain science, and every shade of opinion and interpretation under the sun. I think that makes people at least aware that they need a BS filter.

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Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/17/2011 7:50 AM

I care about most of the opinions on here, but trying to determine the truth on some issue by using the internet is time consuming.

As far as alcohol goes, I'm pretty much a weekend warrior. And even that, is down to about one weekend a month when it gets heavy, and that's primarily beer. About the worste thing I do while drinking is get on here and make some comments I shouldn't have. I can live with myself.

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Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/17/2011 3:27 PM

I was sticking my neck out a bit there. I am better informed now although you could have lied to me. I'll just trust you on this one, didn't take long at all.

Happy days, Ky.

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Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

01/18/2011 6:40 AM

Yeah.........Getting on here and lying, or trying to be someone I'm not would be pretty pointless. I'm just myself on here..........It ain't always pretty.

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#16

Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

02/16/2011 1:10 AM

Nowadays people or public are better informed but very important aspects of life like safe limits of noise,magnetic field,electric field are not known to public. They should know average levels of radiations emitted by home,office,industrial,hospital appliances,how to measure,the safe distance to keep,what protective measures to take,whom to report if limits are exceeded etc. Otherwise advancement in science is not useful.

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#17

Re: Are People Better Informed Today?

02/26/2011 12:39 PM

This question is a bit more tricky than one would assume at first glance. I think the wrong words were used in asking the question, and therefor the actual intent of the question is not being addressed.

My problem is with the word informed. Or rather... information.

Some of you are answering the question based on your definition of information as meaning "facts".

Information does not have the same meaning as facts. Information comes in two types. False information, and true information. As an example, Orson Wells informed half the country that Martians were attacking, some 75 years. All those people were very informed.

So to answer this question litterally... yes, we are far better informed now than we were years ago. But, that does not take into account our individual processing or use of all this "information". When the world wide web first began to build an identity, it began to morph into something like a universal encyclopedia. This was quite an exciting prospect. This is because of one thing that was not existent at that time: "Blogs".

As time went on, blogs became more and more prevalent. By the time we reach 2011, I'm guessing that blogs and porn comprise a larger ratio of online content than everything else combined. So as a result, we are now bombarded by more information than ever before. But as to how much of that information is true information... well, that's to be decided. One of the comments above mentioned that we should research and do our homework by visiting many sources of information before coming to a conclusion. I'm not sure that helps us at all. Just because you have read 20 sources of information does not mean that you will have the facts... considering that 15 of those sources were pure, biased crap; that may or may not be able to be traced to someone's blog or false information. We would be tempted to believe that whoevers crap is most prevalent online, would be the truth. Unfortunately that is not the case. Crap, begets crap.

Misinformation propagates. It still does not allow any foolproof method of being sure which of these nuggets of information are in fact true, regardless of your own intelligence. If the internet existed in the Middle Ages, almost every scientific website and blog would be telling you that the world was flat.

No... I think we are undeniably dumber as a result of the internet. People are adopting the most outrageous views, simply based on internet content and blogs. And they are convinced that they are gaining facts. And will vehemently point you to any number of sources to prove they are correct. For example American political views is one area that has suffered greatly due to this phenomenon. An entire generation of radicalism on both sides has sprouted because of it.

No, I definitely think we are dumber, as a whole; although we are certainly more informed.

And that's a FACT!

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