I’m going to Bitnorth in August. Its going to be geeky and awesome, and I can’t wait. I have to present. Everyone going has to present. I wanted to present on the idea that there since there is still a digital divide, is it possible that the new social rules that are emerging will impact a population that can’t participate in creating these new rules. And is that a problem?
But given the situation in the Gulf of Mexico (I’m from the Florida Panhandle), I’ve changed my idea just a little bit. I’m actually writing this blog post in the hopes that someone can help me with some terminology.
The background story
Since all of my family and lots of my friends still live on the Gulf Coast, I get pretty frequent updates on what is actually going on. What I hear from them is different than what I hear on the news up here in New England (where this week I heard more about Linsday and LeBron than the oil spill), or even in the newspapers back home.
Friends from a bit further west of my family (New Orleans to be exact) say the same thing – the news that is being reported is not matching the reality that people are seeing and living.
What is going on in the Gulf is very strange.
- Reporters are not allowed to visit the most impacted areas of Louisiana to investigate the spill.
- Scientists are not allowed to study the impacted sites
- There is a no-fly zone over the impacted sites
- Communities that rely on tourism are not allowing health departments to close the beaches, instead telling tourists to figure out the dangers for themselves
We know millions of gallons of oil are being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, and they are using an extremely toxic substance to break up the oil, and that they may have drilled into a methane bubble. What we don’t know is what impact that will have on the health of the residents of the Gulf Coast, because no one is sharing the information that could help Gulf Coast residents and visitors come to their own conclusions about the dangers of living near this oil spill.
Back to my Bitnorth presentation
Here’s my idea – what happens when in this day and age information imposters use social media to control the message about an event that will impact everyone? What happens if information imposters are very social media savvy, and are able to use “truthiness” to futher their own agenda? What happens when information imposters are able to game the system to seem as if they are more relevant than people or organizations trying to get the real information out there to people? What happens if these imposters know how to work people to gain their trust, so that they are the ones with high affinity?
What happens to our idealistic view of how social media can be used to improve and connect the world?
My main question for all of you is this: is there a technical term for this concept of “truthiness”?