Crap Detection 101: How to Distinguish Good and Bad Information Online, by Howard Rheingold
I am going to review Howard Rheingold’s video “Crap Detection 101: How to Distinguish Good and Bad Information Online”.
What is the video about? It is about the internet and the information we get through internet. Howard Rheingold, in his one and a half hour video (approximately), discusses with Mark Brokering of Safari Books Online, about several issues concerning internet, about information, and as the title says, how to distinguish good and bad Information.
The video has 12 segments, each segment being a topic that we must be careful when we approach it online, and it is important to know the difference between good and bad, between right and wrong. He talks about issues like legitimate information, like accurate information, he talks about healthcare online, how to search online and about the role of Wikipedia. He also talks about phishing, criminal hoaxing, spam email and other “evil” things that we must have in mind when we get online.
I have to say that it is a quite interesting video; Rheingold can catch your attention and hold you there. You watch the one topic after the other without being bored or tired. His speech is clear and his thinking is logical and simple. Also the quality of the recording is very good. Everybody can benefit from watching the video, whether a parent or a senior, a teacher or a college student. As a parent or a teacher, there is a special unit about children on the web.
Well, I said it is quite an interesting video, in the way the speaker approaches and presents his subject. Rheingold himself has a great personality and that is reflected in the way he speaks. But does he reveal any secret techniques to catch the bad guy on the internet? Is there any magical formula to tell the good from evil? No, except from a few sites that may be helpful, like “Who Is” that gives information about URLs and domain names, and “Health on the Net”, there is no secret or a magical formula. Rheingold tells something that it is quite obvious, but so much forgotten by many of us. That someone must use their brain when they get online. “The great thing about internet is that everybody can publish. The danger of the internet is that everybody can publish”. So learn to think critically and ask questions. Ask yourself, “Who is telling me that?” Set an “internal credibility meter” and let it get up and down depending on what you find answering “who is”. If there is not an author in what it is written, the credibility meter must go down. “Think like a detective”. And in a detective’s mind everybody is a suspect, unless otherwise proven.
But finally, does it worth for someone to have this DVD? Yes, I believe so. Some things may be “common sense”, but we all need to hear someone telling us those things, again and again.