Monday, April 19, 2021

In Search of the Truth

Fake News is believed by most to be a deliberate distortion or fabrication of information spread by media or social network sources. Propaganda is often viewed as bias or misleading information generated to promote or publicize a particular political idea. Marketing on the other hand is more accepted in the mainstream. Portrayed as scientifically based with the possibility of earning Degrees through higher education, it is generally described as the study of methods and strategies to put products and services in the hands of consumers. All three are about persuading people to accept particular points of view.  All three have been discussed in terms of ethics. While fake news and propaganda by nature tend to be regarded as amoral, marketing actually has a federal law that says that “ an ad must be truthful, not misleading, and when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.” FTC Truth in Advertising.

The Internet, advancing Technology and social media have complicated the picture. In the 21st century just about anybody can publish and disseminate their point of view and actually in fairly sophisticated fashion. As consumers of information in the digital information age, we get to choose what we want to believe and what we want to see and now there are algorithms to help us.  Basically they are  processes or rule-sets that are programmed into computers to solve problems. While physicists and scientists and other professionals use them to facilitate solving a multitude of technical issues, browsers and social media platforms use them to determine our preferences. Be assured, your political preferences and buying habits are very quickly determined and you will receive “marketing” to extract your vote and money. Of course it is comforting to receive confirmation that our beliefs are correct and it is nice to get our product desires fulfilled with greater speed.  But, we also know that some of those selling ideas or  products or services, will sometimes mislead. 

We are all unique and we all have our own personal beliefs and core values we have acquired through life experience. The vast majority of us also have a personal smart phone with an extensive library of information. However, too many do not explore Lateral Reading. In essence, rather than fully engaging by taking a deep dive into every aspect of an article, a website, or any “marketing pitch” we find online, we instead choose to become fact checkers. We open another window and search for opposing points of views. We check the validity of the information as it is being presented by scanning other websites and research sources or reviews, to get additional opinions. The process helps us understand, providing other interpretations to help us determine if we are consuming fake news, propaganda, a marketing campaign or well researched and fairly reliable sources of factual truth. Student Fact Checkers is well worth exploring. . 

Added to the mix, are “scientific facts” and “academic research” which are reported over and over again, becoming mainstream beliefs,  until the day when new information unveils a new understanding and we come to a realization that perhaps we have been wrong! Unfortunately, far too many people in the world of Career Development and Employment Counseling have become stagnant, operating with outdated information. 

In Working Ahead, Moving Forward™, NECA’s GCDF Training, we explore concepts from many different directions in an attempt to elevate consciousness. We move beyond the delivery of “text book” education and explore thoughts that are needed to be successful in the 21st Century. We customize the training to the needs of each student as they participate and continually elicit “ah ha moments,” a sudden, more expanded understanding. Clearly in the 21st Century with an abundance of information coming from many different directions, we are all challenged to not only adopt a commitment  to ongoing education, but to continually evaluate what we are choosing to believe. 

When it comes to the future of work, “late adopter” is the same thing as “out of business.” ~   Jacob Morgan