Stopping the spread of COVID-19 misinformation is the best 2021 New Year’s resolution

Anxiety and other negative emotions can cause us to spread misinformation. (Shutterstock)

This article was originally published in The Conversation Canada on January 6, 2021.

As we begin a new year and head back (at least virtually) to work and school, we might be thinking about personal things we would like to improve. Some people resolve to exercise more, stick to a budget or cut out sugar from their diet. Others resolve to write that book, use social media less or volunteer in their communities. These are all great ideas, and I’d like to add another one.

Though we all made our New Year’s resolutions on Jan. 1, I respectfully suggest a January resolution that would, if we each committed to it, produce a large positive impact on society. This year, I resolve — and would like to encourage others to resolve — to stop the spread of misinformation at the individual level.

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Stopping the spread of COVID-19 misinformation is the best 2021 New Year’s resolution

All Zoomed Out? How to Deal With Zoom Fatigue Over the Holiday Season

This article was previously published in the Conversation Canada

In lieu of in-person gatherings, holiday and end-of-year celebrations will be virtual because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
(Shutterstock)

Jaigris Hodson, Royal Roads University

Well it’s official. Across North America and most of Western Europe, the Christmas holidays are going to look very different this year. Since the second wave of the pandemic hit, we’ve been told to use virtual tools to connect with our loved ones for some holiday cheer. In fact, we may all find ourselves declining to participate in in-person holiday gatherings in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 prior to the release of a vaccine.

Unfortunately, however, we’ve already been doing almost everything digitally from our couches for months, and most of us are getting really tired of the whole thing, with good reason.

So do we write off the holidays altogether? Or do we try to find new ways to make things memorable? My research on digital literacy shows ways we can connect this holiday season, even as we stay physically apart.




Read more:
Teaching children digital literacy skills helps them navigate and respond to misinformation


Video for everything

The first few months of the pandemic was filled with Zoom fever. People were zooming work, happy hour, board game nights and other events as well. Then many people felt like they hit a wall. Zoom fatigue is real. And recent research suggests that all the efforts to connect using video chat platforms (Zoom, Skype, Teams and similar) might actually be wearing us down.

So while you consider how to spread holiday cheer, you want to find ways to step away from doing everything via video chat. Instead, learn from the ways digital natives use digital communication tools, and celebrate the season using a variety of platforms, as I’ll outline below.

Different platforms for different social groups

My research shows that young people tend to segment their use of social media platforms by their relationships on those platforms. For example, teenagers use Facebook to stay in touch with family and teachers, but use Snapchat with their friends. They socialize in massive multiplayer games.

This kind of engagement with digital technology makes sense for everyone. If you use Zoom for work, you may want to experiment with other technologies to connect with family and friends, For example, you could use an app like Rave, Airtime or Teleparty to watch movies synchronously with friends. Or you could visit friends and family virtually in a game like Animal Crossing, World of Warcraft, or Minecraft.

Get digitally creative

There are many other ways you can connect with loved ones to spread some holiday cheer. The sky, and your creativity, are the limit, but here are a few of my favorites:

Tune in, turn on, then cop out

Holidays are stressful, and you will feel tempted to accept every virtual invitation, but you also need to spend some time disconnecting from digital devices. Some universities recommend that their doctoral students build in digital detox times in order to combat Zoom fatigue.

Sometimes you’ll really want to use a videoconferencing platform to recreate a holiday dinner or cocktail party, so make sure you combat Zoom fatigue by balancing your video chatting with the other ways to connect described above.

And while you step away from your computer, don’t forget old-fashioned ways to stay in touch. Send cards, pick up the phone or mail presents to your loved ones. Sometimes these are most impactful because we experience them so rarely in our hyper-connected world.The Conversation

Jaigris Hodson, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Royal Roads University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

All Zoomed Out? How to Deal With Zoom Fatigue Over the Holiday Season

This Week In Tech News: Orwellian Doublethink

The last week has been filled with announcements from big tech firms:

Facebook tells us “the future is private“.

Google tells us they’re “here to help“.

Amazon tell us it’s a friend to small businesses.

"War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery Ignorance is Strength"  by Nney is licensed under  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery Ignorance is Strength” by Nney is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In developers’ conferences and earnings calls, the biggest of the big tech companies are trying to develop unique value propositions that paint them as friendly, responsive, and attuned to the needs of their customers. Then the mainstream technology media (often overworked, understaffed and reliant on the good graces of big tech for continued access to stories), generally reports these messages at face value. News in the last week focused on Facebook’s pivot toward community groups, Google’s exciting universal translator or Amazon’s claim that small and medium sized business partners made on average 90K last year through their platform.

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This Week In Tech News: Orwellian Doublethink

Don’t Trust #CdnMedia – how anti news discourses spread during the last election

Popular opinion is that fake news and distrust of the mainstream media was mostly a problem during the 2016 US election and the ill-fated Brexit vote in the UK. However, before either of these things happened, we actually saw anti-news sentiment in small pockets of Canadian social media chatter. During our last election in 2015 people were beginning to use the hashtag #CdnMedia to criticize mainstream media sources and accuse journalists of working for the Liberal government. As we enter another election year, we may want to learn from what happened before, as I suspect this type of chatter will only become a bigger player in 2019.

Vizrt Kurdsat 1 News @ 6 HD Graphics.
“Vizrt Kurdsat 1 News @ 6 HD Graphics.” by arshan khan is licensed under CC by-nc-nd 4.0

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Don’t Trust #CdnMedia – how anti news discourses spread during the last election

Is the Presence of a Local News Outlet Enough? Buchanan’s Examination of Hyperlocal News

This post was originally posted to Medium, you can view the original here

One of the key benefits often ascribed to local news is that local news outlets facilitate more hyperlocal reporting. That is to say, the presence of a local news outlet is associated, at least in many people’s minds, with an increased coverage of local stories in a community. But is this correlation true in practice?

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Is the Presence of a Local News Outlet Enough? Buchanan’s Examination of Hyperlocal News

Celebrity “trumps” truth: The key difference between the liberal press and Twitter

Today, The Verge published an article stating that Twitter has drawn a small line in the sand with respect to the tweeting habits of the 45 president of the United States. Adi Robertson reports that Twitter has suggested that while it is important not to censor or remove important public figures like the president from the platform, it will draw the line at “tweets that reveal a private address or phone number”. Of course, not all people agree with this stand. For example, Sam Harris clearly stated in a recent podcast that he thinks Trump should be banned from Twitter, since the damage he can do via a Tweet is just so great. Twitter’s response though, is one worth considering. When is it appropriate to silence a public figure on a platform like Twitter? And when is it actually in the public interest to support a person’s right to make even crazy or patently false claims on the site?

A tweet made my Donald Trump in which he complains about fake news
A tweet made by Donald Trump: Picture from “Mother Jones” http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/02/donald-trump-edits-tweet/

 

 

 

 

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Celebrity “trumps” truth: The key difference between the liberal press and Twitter

Goliath vs. Goliath: Or Why the Net Neutrality Debate is Complicated

You may have noticed that net neutrality was in the news quite a bit this week after US FCC Chairman Ajit Pai tried to slip a release into the pre-long weekend news burial ground stating that he plans to roll back any legislation related to Net Neutrality. In response to this, Netflix released a statement that it opposes any attempts to roll back net neutrality rules. Back in July, when the idea of gutting net neutrality law was first floated under the Trump administration, all of the major platform players such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, spoke out against these proposed regulations. But a Google search that I conducted this morning shows news in which Twitter, Pinterest, AirBnB and of course the aforementioned Netflix make statements opposing the new legislation while Facebook and Google are conspicuously absent.

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Goliath vs. Goliath: Or Why the Net Neutrality Debate is Complicated

Why I Don’t Use Facebook: Part 3

This is part three in a series which details why I think you can be an effective social media advisor, even if you are not personally on Facebook yourself. In this post, I’m going to briefly discuss some of the personal reasons why I do not engage on Facebook, and why I’m thinking about withdrawing my participation from social media completely. You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.

Even if you don’t work in a social media or technology-related field, sometimes keeping up with social media can feel like a second full time job. For some, this second job is worth it, but for others, it might not be, and social media use is more a compulsion, something you do out of habit, even when it stops feeling fun. Like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, or a regular sugar habit, this activity initially delivers feelings of happiness, euphoria or satisfaction, only to devolve into a monkey on the users’ back.

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Why I Don’t Use Facebook: Part 3

All hail our (kind of annoying) robot neighbours and their human overlords

Robots have been all over my various news feeds of late. Here are just a few examples:

  1. From Slate: Russian bots posing as regular people are trying to sow discord on Twitter after Charlottesville
  2. From the Guardian: The future of funerals? Robot priest launched to undercut human-led rites
  3. From Business Insider: Robots are starting to enter pre-K and kindergarten alongside kids
  4. And finally, from Engaget: Drones will watch Australian beaches for Sharks with AI help

Continue reading “All hail our (kind of annoying) robot neighbours and their human overlords”

All hail our (kind of annoying) robot neighbours and their human overlords