Sources, Credibility, and Social Media
Credibility on the Internet is an important topic in 2015 because more people are using the Internet as a primary source of information. Discerning the validity of an Internet sources is a skill that needs to be continually developed through continual training. By evaluating the credibility of a source, a person can foster a better comprehension of information found on the Internet. To test for credibility of sources, I examined the article The Price of Nice Nails found on the New York Times website. I read this article on Facebook, which was posted by the Facebook page Southern Poverty Law Center.
Analysis of Credibility
Evaluating the sources in the Price of Nice Nails article was straightforward. Author Sarah Maslin Nir linked multiple websites to this article so I was able to analyze easily the information she presented. To simplify the examination process, I categorized the sources Nir used into three sections
- Charts and Graphs
- Personal Accounts
- First Hand
- Second Hand
- Linked Sources
The charts and graphs were cited through established and trustworthy sources such as official censuses from various government agencies. The article offered multiple first, second-hand accounts of workers from different nail salons in New York. Nir also referenced experts such as, law professors, former president of the Korean American Nail Salon Association, and the New York State Labor Department. Kovach and Rosenstiel (2010) state, “ it is useful to look for multiple sources who are independent of one another and to see if their stories all overlap with a consistency that begins to give them credibility” (p. 79-80).
Reviewing the Helpful Hints for Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources on the George Mason University was practical for analyzing the links Nir provided in her article. Of the nine points listed in Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources, investigating authorship of a sources seems to be the most useful aspect in determining credibility.
The 2014-2015 The Big Book Nails Magazine PDF is a thoroughly investigated report on the nail industry. This 16-page source documents statistics, standards, etiquette, marketing, and business practices in the nail industry, which supported the Nir’s article in the New York Times. Nir also referenced another article about a landmark legal case, which led me to further investigation of sources provided in the second article.
Trusting the Blogosphere
Reading blogs for information can easily become a trip into the dim side of the Internet. The most democratic forum for information distribution does not have traditional gatekeepers, which means anyone with a personal computer and an Internet connection can create a blog. I follow a handful of blogs that span my interests from pro-science, to parenting, to dance, to tabloid entertainment. However, I am skeptical of information presented in any blog including the ones I follow. I am aware of how simple creating a professional looking blog is so I tend to question statements and claims posted without citations or linked sources. By questioning the content posted by bloggers, I find that am less emotionally invested with stories and ideas.
Change Through Social Media
Social media has transformed the way information is delivered and has changed how users engage in content. In a study from the Pew Research Center, Anderson and Caumont (2014) indicate, “Half of social network site users have shared news stories, images or videos, and nearly as many (46%) have discussed a news issue or event” (para. 3). A large percentage of the [American] population is acquiring information about events through a medium that did not exist 15 years ago. As a user of mainstream social media sites, I find that I participate in discussions, share personal information, link articles and websites, and engage in online information distribution as a normal part of my day. I cannot remember the last time I intentionally sought out and watched television, listened to the radio, or picked up a newspaper for information other than entertainment.
Through social media, I became aware of the New York Times article The Price of Nice Nails. Nir exposed some serious labor and immigration issues in the state of New York in a well-documented article. The impact of this expose was felt almost immediately, which was addressed by Nir in a follow-up article. The governor of New York ordered emergency measures to address the issues of theft and health hazard exposed in Nir’s article (Nir, 2015). By evaluating the sources in The Price of Nice Nails., I am able to determine the sources are credible, and by using social media as a source for news I am able to stay informed of issues across the country.
Anderson, M., & Caumont, A., (2014, September 24). How social media is reshaping news. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/09/24/how-social-media-is-reshaping-news/
Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources. (1998) George Mason University. Retrieved from http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/web-eval-sites.htm
Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T., (2010). Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. New York: Bloomsbury.
Nir Maslin, S., (2015, May 11). Cuomo Orders Emergency Measures to Protect Workers at Nail Salons. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/11/nyregion/cuomo-orders-emergency-measures-to-protect-workers-at-nail-salons.html
Nir Maslin, S., (2015, May 7). The Price of Nice Nails. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/10/nyregion/at-nail-salons-in-nyc-manicurists-are-underpaid-and-unprotected.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0