Just realized this is the first workshop I'm giving with the Google search About This Result feature, and I'm walking through my walkthrough and -- it actually makes this process a **lot** easier already.
The biggest improvement is that in reading the search page (and practicing click restraint) you can now test a *bunch* of sources before clicking, rather than "guess and check"
This is particularly important to novices, who when they start out in a domain don't have much familiarity with *any* source.
People with emerging mastery and above in regards to an information space often recognize enough results on a page that they can check out the ones that "sort of ring a bell" or the ones that don't, or just pick the one they recognize ("dry land").
Students starting out learn sources so much more quickly than people realize (it's quite shocking how little practice it takes before they are talking at a level above most adults re: talking about the relative merits of Reuters vs. the WaPo), but...
That first bit, where they are just entering a space, with not knowledge of any of the publications? It's overwhelming. The About This Result tool massively bootstraps that process for novices while improving the process for experts as well.
It's so rare we get to see interventions that are this helpful in this space (and I do have some concerns over how this might stress Wikipedia via edit wars even more). But dang, this feels so so good.

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More from @holden

10 Jun
So I am going to watch this but I have some trepidation because this was exactly the thesis I was advancing in 2014/2015 (see for example "The Garden and the Stream: a Technopastoral") right down to targeting the news feed as the start of it all nyti.ms/3w6yRzt
They were big influential essays too -- dozens of them. Inspired the "digital gardens" movement. Part of the inspiration of creators @RoamResearch and @NotionHQ . I just don't want to be written out of the history of an idea I worked so hard on and was unique at the time.
OK, I'm going to hit play now.
Read 15 tweets
10 Jun
By the way, this is what I mean by tropes. The "magnetic body" trope started off in paranormal circles. And the field was "personal demonstration" (similar to sharpiegate). Now it's a vaccine trope. Two different narratives, but the action is at the trope level.
So we see the magnetic body trope in a bunch of YouTube places from 2010 on (and surely happened off YouTube before). Here's one
Here's the famous skeptic James Randi debunking "magnet man" 2011, with talcum powder.
Read 12 tweets
9 Jun
I haven't done one of these in a while, but my conference today was on Eastern Time, so I though I'd share something that has made it's way into my workshops, but not my materials yet, the "eye doctor search test"
It doesn't have anything to do with eye doctors, except as a metaphor. You know when you go into the eye doctor and they flip the lenses and say which looks better, 1 or 2? This is also something you can do with any situation where search term addition might lead to bias.
Data voids are much less of a problem than they were even a few years ago, so hooray to that. But users are still faced with the issue of "should I add 'hoax' or 'misinformation' to a search?"
Read 6 tweets
7 Jun
It's been absolutely amazing to see the press swerve from "lab leak is a conspiracy theory" to "saying it's not lab leak is denial". There's a place in the middle of this that is "Experts are uncertain, and there's not a pressing issue forcing me to decide now."
I talked about this (and UFOs) to @cwarzel a bit ago washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/…
Basically, sometimes you have to make pressing decisions in the face of uncertainty. There's stakes to delaying choosing a "side". But when there are no immediate stakes, rejoice and focus on the decisions that are more clear. ImageImage
Read 4 tweets
3 Jun
I've talked about how production in participatory misinfo campaigns relies on the sweet spot called "trope-field fit". This law is a good example of how innocent sounding provisions in law are really intentional attempts to improve that fit and turbocharge misinfo production. Image
Broadly, the best participatory disinfo campaigns rely not so much on narratives but simple tropes understood by followers that can be used to identify content for misframing (either intentional, unintentional, or just unconcerned about truth).
So we have a trope, like "mail-dumping" or "secret boxes shipped in" or "discarded ballots". But what really makes one trope work better than others in *participatory* disinfo in not narrative alignment, but alignment with what I call a "field".
Read 22 tweets
27 May
This whole pandemic has been people taking statements of uncertainty either as

1) Statements that "x is unlikely", or
2) Evidence that actually "x *is* likely" and there is some sort of cover-up

But plausibility and certainty run on two different axes.
I know this is my info literacy hat here, but given we put kids in school for 12 years minimum maybe instead of having them run fruit fly experiments we could take a few days to explain how to understand expert opinion.
As just a simple example, people tend to conflate certainty and plausibility. But experts can be very uncertain about a given question, and still have pretty good plausibility judgments.
Read 12 tweets

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