The media, as well as many of us on social media, so often share incomplete or biased information that can lead to misinterpretations on any given topic. I know I am guilty, even though it’s never my intent.
Recently, I saw an article on Facebook and Twitter regarding a research project that studied the effect devices in the classroom have on students’ test scores, which ultimately concluded test scores went down. It was an interesting article, but I was immediately concerned that the title of the article was misleading. The reader must have read the entire article to understand fully the research that was conducted and the context to which it was applied.
Essentially, devices were given to students, but the catch was the fact that they were not intentionally weaved into the instruction occurring with the control group, so they became nothing more than a distraction for many students (A lot like what happens when we don’t use technology with a game plan). Unfortunately, this piece of information did not show up until the very end of the article; this was a great reminder to me because it’s too easy to click the “Share” button, and if you’re not clear about why you’re sharing something you might be sending a different message. Even worse, you share something you haven’t even fully read, so you don’t even know what you have shared.
I get that not everything needs context when we share things on social media; some things are easily re-shared, and people can take it or leave it. However, some topics deserve more careful thought, so as not to do harm to larger causes or movements.
Most articles, research and studies on the internet and elsewhere should be questioned. If I’m looking at research or a study that’s been conducted, I want to know who funded it. Research and studies are not free, and if the outcomes of the research align with the viewpoints of the funders I’m immediately skeptical.
At the end of the day, I’ve once again been reminded to think twice before sharing something via social media and my other professional networks. From now on, I’m going to work harder at questioning what I’m reading and sharing. After all, this is my digital footprint I’m leaving behind, and I want it to depict who I am and what I value and believe in.