Saturday, October 15, 2011

Information vs. Knowledge

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, October 12, 2011 pg. A19) states that many people are no longer benefitting from what they call the "rub off" effect. Not too long ago most American homes recieved a daily newspaper and while many did not read the entire paper from front to back they couldn't help but glance at the headlines as they turned to the back to see today's funnies or horoscope. Now more than ever American's don't know their current events. This article blames at least in part the fact that many now listen to "news free" television news that is packaged more for it's entertainment value than for any real and valuable hard news.

Our beliefs about the world are shaped by many factors. A new research study suggests that nuggets of misinformation embedded in a fictional television program can seep into our brains and lodge there as perceived facts. What’s more, this seems to occur even when our initial response is skepticism. But this skepticism diminishes over time as our memory of where we heard the fact or falsehood in question dims.

So how do we use the information that we glean in a given day? Do we question it's accuracy? Do we spout it back as fact during a dinner party or family event?  In the past we relied on the professional newspaper editors and broadcasters to determine what information was important and newsworthy but with the explosion in information and the endless ways that we obtain it how do we sort fact from fiction?

Are you a Facebook user? They now sort your friends postings in order of newsworthy importance. Just how is it they decide what we want to see? Who knows!

So where does knowledge come from? Does it come from all this random information that we are bombarded with each day or does it come from life experiences? In that line of thinking then shared knowledge comes from shared experiences. So how do you find the truth and share it and which is better information or knowledge?Just something to ponder. I personally don't have the answer to this one. Any comments?

Need one more way to gain random trivial knowledge, try
Michele, Children's Librarian

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