This week, we learned all about digital literacy: Misinformation, disinformation, malformation, and all that good stuff to ensure we aren’t believing and sharing things that aren’t true on the internet.
My Digital Literacy Knowledge
Over the years, I’ve learned quite a bit about digital literacy. For example, Caulfield, in his explanation of digital literacy, talks about the CRAAP Test. I have to say that I’m pretty much an expert on this concept, since, when I was on the National RCMP Youth Advisory Committee, I made a poster for the RCMP about this exact test.
But Caulfield says this just isn’t enough. According to Pondiscio, if you actually want to evaluate a site properly, it’s not about doing something like the CRAAP test, it’s by “knowing something”. This predominately includes gaining a sense of domain knowledge, like knowing that Snopes is a good hoax checker, or how to find whether an image is real. I’ve grown up with CRAAP and RABCAB tests since middle school, but I’ve never heard about “domain knowledge” before.
And with this information about digital literacy and how even the CRAAP test that I’ve grown up with isn’t enough, it got me thinking. I might be spreading fake news to my readers who might not have learned about CRAAP, much less the whole concept of “domain knowledge.”
My Blog is Fake News
Spilling the Royaltea is a gossip column. This means that it’s bound to have fake news. In fact, a bunch of the sites that I source my information from are not exactly credible at all and are probably also fake news. For example, most of the sites I get my information from say things like “an insider exclusively told us…” or “a source confirmed that…”
Some of them also say some pretty random things, like the fact that Tom Cruise is supposedly putting Mission Impossible 7 on hold to attend King Charles’s coronation, with no source or any kind of confirmation at all. But I still decided to take this information and put it in my blog.
Up to this point, I’ve kind of assumed that readers would understand that a lot of my content is based on pure speculation and opinion. This especially includes my “news” articles, which include a lot of “insider” information without any kind of source. But after reading about how, according to the Pew Research Center, half of adults under 30 in the US have a lot of trust in the information they get on social media, I’m not too sure people will understand that my news articles are fabricated.
So, keeping in mind that many of my readers might not have the domain knowledge to discern the “real” and “fake” parts of my website, I’ve started to think about how I can prevent any misinformation or disinformation from getting out there.
In my “hot takes” posts, I’ve already added a disclaimer explaining that my posts reflect considered opinions, meaning that what I’m saying isn’t a universal truth. I think that moving forward, it might be important to do this in almost all of my content posts, especially the “news” ones, which could lead readers to believe that I’m actually reporting real news. Just a short disclaimer that the information I’m talking about isn’t 100% factual could help ease the risk of the spread of fake news.
But at the end of the day, Spilling the Royaltea is a gossip column at its core, which means that there’s always a chance that my readers might misinterpret the information and think it’s all real. So all in all, I think that it’s really important to be completely transparent with my readers. When something might be fake, that’s what I’ll tell them. If I get a fact wrong, I’ll correct it and write that my post was corrected at the top of the page.
And I mean, if they are still 100% convinced that Tom Cruise will attend Prince Charles’s coronation after all my efforts to tell them it’s not confirmed, it can’t really do that much harm, can it?
Caulfield, M. (2016, December 19). Yes, digital literacy. But which one? Hapgood. https://hapgood.us/2016/12/19/yes-digital-literacy-but-which-one/
Gottfried, J., & Liedke, J. (2022, November 4). US adults under 30 now trust information from social media almost as much as from national news outlets. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/11/social-media-adults-information-news-platforms/
Sampoerna University. (2022). [Digital literacy] [Stock Illustration]. https://www.sampoernauniversity.ac.id/definition-of-digital-literacy-its-benefits-principles-and-examples/