Thursday, January 27, 2011

Low Information - A Term Once Used for Voters Goes Mainstream

Image from Pam's House Blend, click photo to go there.
 After reading an online article the other day I went directly to the comments as I usually will do to see if there is anything of interest.  The comment sections of online news stories can be a mixed bag, but if the article has any sort of controversial information in it you may be able to see it from another perspective or catch a good debate. 

In the case of tech related stories, they always seem to be accompanied by a slew of comments by people in the know, which sometimes makes the comments the real meat of the article. Anyway, as I was scrolling down and following a heated yet intelligent debate on some controversial subject, in came the type of comment that often disrupts these types of arenas. 

The comment was a shot in the dark, steeped in fire n' brimstone, and had little to do with the debate taking place. This comment poster obviously wanted to stir things up. Then the most interesting thing happened. The 2 opposing sides dealt with the half-cocked poster swiftly and decisively.

Instead of disrupting the debate the two opposing sides decided that the religious commenter was a "low-information" person and should be disregarded and ignored from the conversation (this was conveyed in the posts).  Then the two sides continued on and even though the "disruptor" tried to engage with more posts, neither side took the bait.  

Low-Information was a term initially used to describe voters who received their primary information from radio and TV talk show hosts.  By performing a search of "low-information voters" you will find plenty of results that have to do with politics and voters. 

It seems now the term is being applied online to anyone appearing to have "low-information", which could be exhibiting strong convictions/beliefs, poor grammar, or the use of low quality information/data/facts. 

Information literacy is becoming more and more important in an ever expanding world of information. Could we soon be living in an online world where the "low-information" is filtered out? 

In the example above the community of strangers (while hotly debating a controversial subject) quickly disregarded another based on their evaluation.  The individual was labeled "low-information" and discarded.

*Information contained within these pages do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Schreiner University.

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