Tag Archives: social media

‘some of it true, some of it false, and much of it partially true’

(“That they might have joy” column written by Jacki Wood and first published in the 6/28/18 Nodaway News Leader)

When God established a principle in the Bible, he did so with two or three witnesses.

In 2 Corinthians 13, and similarly in Matthew 18, it says: “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”

The gospels are a perfect example of this. Matthew, Mark and Luke were all witnesses of Jesus Christ, and together, established the truth of his life, death and resurrection.

The idea of having two or three witnesses is a practical concept in many areas of life. It’s especially useful in a court of law, and I believe, an essential aspect of seeking truth.

In his “What is Truth?” speech, Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: “Never in the history of the world have we had easier access to more information — some of it true, some of it false, and much of it partially true. Consequently, never in the history of the world has it been more important to learn how to correctly discern between truth and error.”

This is difficult as we are surrounded daily by claims of fake news, alternative facts and post-truth.

Fake news is not a new tactic. Propaganda has been used for decades all over the world. But the internet has exacerbated it.

In “Fake news: What exactly is it – and how can you spot it?” from the June 13 edition of The Telegraph, James Titcomb and James Carson wrote: “Before the internet, it was much more expensive to distribute information, building up trust took years and there were much simpler definitions of what constituted news and media, making regulation easier.

“But the rise of social media has broken down many of the boundaries that prevented fake news from spreading in democracies. In particular it has allowed anyone to create and disseminate information.

“Facebook and Twitter allow people to exchange information on a much greater scale than ever before, while publishing platforms like WordPress allow anyone to create a dynamic website with ease.

“In short, the barriers to creating fake news have been undone.”

This is why using “two or three witnesses,” or getting information from more than one source, is so important.

One way to do this is expanding what you read and who you follow.

At our staff meeting this week, Kay shared a quote from “How to Think for Yourself When Algorithms Control What You Read” by Marc Zao-Sanders: “Pretty much everything you see online, from search results to your Facebook feed, is generated by algorithms. This invisible code prioritizes information that it thinks you’ll like — which can turn your online experience into an echo chamber of identical opinions. How can you keep algorithms from penning in your worldview? To start with, think about how dangerous it can be to see only things that you already agree with. Be skeptical of the veracity and comprehensiveness of your internet feeds. Make sure you’re reading widely about issues in the world, and deliberately follow people with views that differ from yours.”

Vanessa Otero, who created a media bias chart for a more balanced consumption of news, said: “We are living in a time where we have more information available to each of us than ever before in history. However, we are not all proficient at distinguishing between good information and bad information. This is true for liberal, moderate and conservative people.”

Another aspect is realizing we may only have a portion of the truth.

The ancient parable of The Blind Men and the Elephant, as written by American poet John Godfrey Saxe, begins:

    Six men of Indostan

    To learning much inclined,

    Who went to see the Elephant

    (Though all of them were blind),

    That each by observation

    Might satisfy his mind.

The six blind men each grab a different part of the elephant and describe what they think it is like.

“One of the men finds the elephant’s leg and describes it as being round and rough like a tree. Another feels the tusk and describes the elephant as a spear. A third grabs the tail and insists that an elephant is like a rope. A fourth discovers the trunk and insists that the elephant is like a large snake.

“Each is describing truth. And because his truth comes from personal experience, each insists that he knows what he knows (Uchtdorf).”

    And so these men of Indostan

    Disputed loud and long,

    Each in his own opinion

    Exceeding stiff and strong,

    Though each was partly in the right,

    And all were in the wrong!

There’s a lot of anger amidst a lot of partial truth. People are quick to yell “I’m right and you’re wrong” or “fake news!” if they don’t agree with what’s written.

If you’re only watching one cable news channel or reading one national newspaper, you may be seeing only one part of the elephant.

I suggest we pause, take a little break, cool off a bit. Stop making assumptions. Realize others may have some truth, too, or a different perspective like each of the blind men.

Be skeptical. Question things. Everything. Follow people with different views. Verify facts from different sources.

And listen. Really listen to what others are saying. Be humble. And patient. And meek.

Maybe then we can better learn how to correctly discern between what is truth and what is not. And find a little peace in the process.

Advertisements

Helping our children ‘find the good life’

I recently took a week off from social media. One of my main goals with that extra free time was to get my nose back in a book again. Reading daily, not just tweets and articles, but back to my list of unread classics.

Sadly, my time spent reading has decreased dramatically with the increase in my use of social media. And I’d been feeling I needed to change that.

Before I got to my list, though, I wanted to read/listen to Ben Sasse’s new book, The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis, with our two teenage kids. The perfect opportunity to do that was while we were driving during a quick road trip to visit the Lincoln presidential museum and historical sites.

Ben-Sasse-The-Vanishing-American-Adult-900

Sasse says families should develop practices to prepare their kids to become “fully formed, vivacious, appealing, resilient, self-reliant, problem-solving souls who see themselves as called to love and serve their neighbors.”

And how do they do that? Learning the value of hard work, developing multi-generational relationships, traveling and – wait for it – reading.

Coincidence? Probably not. I knew I needed to do better. And Sasse’s book reinforced that.

It’s not enough for us to encourage our children to read, however. They need to see us setting the example of being readers ourselves.

When we returned from our road trip, we all headed to our home library to pick out some books we hadn’t read yet. And a trip to the public library followed.

One of the most important things I’ve discovered over the years, with two very different children, is that letting them choose what they want to read, not what we want them to read, is vital.

We struggled with our oldest and reading for years. Then one day, he checked out the first Percy Jackson book from the library and devoured it. And the next in the series and the next. It opened up a new world of him wanting to read instead of us feeling like we had to force him to read.

Katherine Paterson, who wrote two of my favorite books, Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins, said: “The wonderful thing about books is that they allow us to enter imaginatively into someone else’s life. And when we do that, we learn to sympathize with other people. But the real surprise is that we also learn truths about ourselves, about our own lives, that somehow we hadn’t been able to see before.”

I think that’s one of the things Sasse was talking about in his book.

“Our goal is for our kids to be intentional about everything they do — to reject passivity and mindless consumption and to embrace an ethos of action, of productivity, of meaningful work, of genuinely lifelong learning,” Sasse writes. “In other words, we want them to find the good life.”


Are you following us yet?

That they might have joy column for Nodaway News Leader by Jacki Wood

 

Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I joined Facebook in April 2007 as a way to stay in touch with family. I recently looked back at some of my first posts and they were mainly just conversations between my sister, Amy, and me. It has changed a lot since then and I have changed how I use it, although one of the best things about it is keeping in touch with family and friends all across the country and around the world.

Then in March 2009, I joined Twitter and hated it. Like a lot of new technology, and even social media, I didn’t really get it. Only 140 characters per tweet? No thanks. And who cares what some celebrity is eating for breakfast. But I kept hearing about what a great tool it was for journalists. Really, it’s all in who you follow. I use it to learn. I get my local, national and worldwide news from it daily. And I can keep up with BYU athletics more readily.

And then I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, which I use to find recipes, plan road trips, gather ideas for family reunions, hairstyles, holidays, the home – and thousands of other things.

I started using Instagram in May 2012 as a fun way to edit my road trip pictures and see more of the world around me.

Now I realize not everything about social media is good. I recently took a six-week hiatus from Facebook. I came back refreshed, made some changes and love using it again. But I do advocate moderation in all of this.

So why am I sharing about my social media use?

Well, I also manage the social media accounts of the Nodaway News Leader. After reading about how businesses were getting involved, I advocated the NNL get on board. In August of 2009, we joined Facebook and Twitter, and in the years since, added YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. It’s been quite a ride.

I love that I can be sitting in my home, three hours from Nodaway County, and watch the Spoofhounds (@Spoofhound1) play football on Leader Live Action and tweet that Brody McMahon (@mcmahon_34) just scored a TD for the Hounds or that Jacob Cacek (@BigSauce_05) came up with a big sack.

Or that the new North-West Nodaway football co-op (@NNMustangs and @West_Nodaway) won its first game.

Or retweet that the Jefferson (@JC123Eagles) girls softball team won 15-2. Or the South Nodaway (@SouthNodawayFAN) softball team defeated Albany.

Or share events happening at Mozingo Lake (MozingoLake), at the university (@NWMOSTATE) or with Big Brothers Big Sisters (@BBBSNodaway), just to name a few.

On Twitter, in addition to live-tweeting games and scores, we also tweet school and community events, post content from our website and information we feel our followers might find worthwhile.

On Facebook, we share lots of photos, stories and fun and distribute news, information and alerts.

On Instagram, we post photos (obviously) of high school sports, community events and more.

On Pinterest, we share recipes on our Good Eats board that correlate with those in the paper, holiday fun and informative boards like local schools, businesses and elected officials.

We have a small staff and are limited in covering all of Nodaway County, its community governments, events and nine school districts for the paper.

The same can be said about our social media accounts.

But we are always looking at ways to improve. I try to stay up on the latest trends (they move very quickly), what people want and ways to better connect with you, our readers and followers.

What works for some, doesn’t work for others, though. So please feel free to email me at jwood@nodawaynews.com with your suggestions, complaints and compliments. Or, better yet, tweet me at @jackijwood. I’d love to hear from you.

You can also tweet the paper at @NodawayNews or the rest of the staff: Kay Wilson, publisher/owner, @KWilsonNNL; Dustin Henggeler, sports reporter, @DHenggeler; Kathryn Rice, reporter, @Kathsmagic; Tiffany Whipple, advertising rep, @tiffwhipple; and Brent Barnett, videographer, @25Barnett.

Neal Schaffer, author of “Maximize Your Social,” said: “Social media replaces nothing – but complements everything.”

We’re still the same Nodaway News Leader, bringing you good news and covering all of Nodaway County, but we’re just complementing it more socially.

So if you’re not already, give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. We’d love to connect.