The Challenge for Consumers

Now we get to the present day -- where the Internet is a prevalent force in our everyday lives, and now having a proliferation of information sources has created a number of challenges to the News Consumer. 

Here are the main three challenges that we focus on in this lesson. 

Challenges for Consumers:

  • Challenge 1: Information Overload

  • Challenge 2: The Blurring of the Lines

  • Challenge 3: Overcoming Your Own Bias

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Challenge 1: Information Overload

How do we find the truth when every day is an information tsunami?

The average American sees and hears 100,000 words per day outside work, according to the Global Information Industry Center at U.S.C.

And a new study of social media users, published by LikeHack.com,(cq) an online magazine, looks at social media users and finds the average user gets more than 250 links per day on various platforms. Research indicates information overload can make people feel anxious and powerless. Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School has spent more than a decade studying the work habits of 238 people. She finds people are more creative if they are allowed to focus without interruptions.

This course arose from that question: With so much information flying around, how do we fight the temptation to just go completely passive and learn only what gets pushed on us by social media?

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Challenge 2: The Blurring of the Lines

A significant number of Americans get their news from Comedy Central shows like “The Daily Show”  What does this do to the definition of journalism? Does that matter? Who is a Journalist?

When you pick up this food magazine while at the checkout counter, you might flip through it for a recipe or two and chances are the recipes are well-illustrated, well-tested and described in a way that makes you hungry.

But if you look closely, every single recipe calls for the use of one or more products from Kraft foods.
This is a simple example of a big problem: If you don’t think critically about the sources of the information you use, your information diet will be sneaky ads and marketing instead of a healthy mix of facts.

Web tools make everyone’s “News” look like the real thing. And online marketers are not prevented or even criticized for using fake news websites to sell products…or politicians.

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Challenge 3: Overcoming your own Bias

Neuro scientists and political scientists and sociologists are documenting more and more ways in which our perceptions and memories are unreliable.
If we’re not careful, we cave in to a cluster of psychological effects known as Cognitive Dissonance, which is the human animal’s deep deep discomfort with new information that contradicts longstanding beliefs.

What is Cognitive Dissonance?
Married in a Christian Church, belongs to a Christian congregation, President Obama was attacked during the 2008 campaign for the public remarks of his controversial Christian pastor.
During the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton supporters circulated a rumor that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. and was therefore not eligible to serve as President. In the general election, right-wing groups picked up the rumor in support of a conspiracy theory: that Obama, whose father followed Islam, is a closet jihadist bent on the destruction of the U.S.

Polls show people believe still this stuff. Why? One explanation we’ll talk about is every human’s tendency to seek out information that confirms our beliefs and to deny the credibility of evidence that disputes what we believe or think we already know.

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jperez's picture

The Puerto Rican "Way Too Much Syndrome"

Everybody is a critic. Or a commentator. Or a political analyst. Radio and TV shows are connected with social media to provide a constant debate regarding socio-political issues. The presence of these personalities is ubiquitous: They write columns, have one (or various) TV/radio appearances to comment on daily news. Most of Puerto Rican audiences are disinformed about real problems because they listen to these opinions --not necessarily sustained by real facts, only by perceptions-- and they start sharing, liking and commenting on FB or Twitter without a real knowledge about these issues.

This is way too much for them to handle, a bite too big to chew. And for us to understand. It's a real syndrome --everybody has an opinion or a theory or a solution, yet no one steps out of their comfort zones to provide real solutions to any of these issues.

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Oh gossssh.. These things break my heart, because I hate the moments when my clients have to deal with all this stuff. And it’s also pretty bad for business, because it’s really distractive. But the worst is “I know it better” or “they’ll make it for less money.” I think everyone has it, when working with professional. I also had it when I had to cooperate with services to do my essay, because 1. I think it’s not good and my teacher won’t like it, 2. I can find a cheaper service with better quality. So stupid!

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