Sophie Alexander Online Information - How to Avoid the Tripwires
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Wednesday, 9th September 2015 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added

By Sophie Alexander


Sophie Alexander talks to Andrew Lucas, co-producer of the FreePint Topic Series, "All About Usage" as he considers the impact of changes in the content landscape brought about by the web and social media and how information managers can help mitigate risks within their organisations.


FreePint Topic Series: All About UsageThe web and social media are an invaluable resource for researchers, analysts and journalists, amongst others. They provide access, unparalleled in history, to a vast array of human knowledge.

Snaring the Unwary

Yet online information can also provide snares for the unwary, the careless or the lazy... How do we know where content originates? Can we trust it?

And we also need to consider how should we use information in our own work.

There is the temptation to take freely available content from the web and incorporate it into our research, reports and academic work without acknowledging where it came from, either through carelessness, lack of awareness or for more sinister reasons.

Tread Carefully

We asked business information consultant Andrew Lucas for his views on how organisations should evaluate these changes. He is also co-producer of the FreePint Topic Series, "All About Usage" which has been considering risks created by the shifts in the way content is created and consumed.

Andrew explains, "These risks have been magnified by the incredibly rapid development of social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, where news stories are broken by 'citizen journalists' much faster than any news organisation could manage."

In his article "All About Usage - the Content Journey" (subscriber content) he points out that a viral story can go global in minutes - whether it is an amusing cat in a box, a terrorist act or a corporate acquisition rumour. It is a sobering fact that almost two thirds of Twitter and Facebook users now get news about events with worldwide impact from the social networking platforms.

Evaluate Your Sources

Social media is, in turn, having a significant impact on the more traditional forms of journalism, as it becomes both a source of news and a distribution channel.

Journalists are less likely to check fact before publishing items picked up from social media and feel less bound by journalistic conventions when posting content themselves. Deliberate attempts to mislead are also finding their way into the content pipeline via both social media and reference sites such as Wikipedia.

For information managers it's about balancing the needs of users to access content in whatever form suits their requirements whilst ensuring that users are aware of risks and consequences.

Find Out More - Be Prepared 

In the Subscription Article "All About Usage - the Content Journey", Andrew explores the lifecycle of news and content, looking at the changes in where it originates and how we can be misled if we are not careful to check its source.

He also considers how changes in attitudes to the ways we use content can lead to both legal and reputational risks and suggests measures that information managers can take to combat the risks within their organisations.

Keep updated on the FreePint Topic Series, "All About Usage" by registering for updates.

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