The Information Tsunami

Whoa! There's an information tsunami out there! There are so many different sources of information available now, that some feel overwhelmed. To think, it was but a few years ago when all we had was TV, radio, newspaper and gossip. With the advent and development of the internet, media channels have multiplied exponentially.

Let's have a quick look at some of the information sources that are available to the discerning (and not so discerning) eye on the internet:

  • News websites like CNN, the BBC and Sky News bring you the latest news with updates as they occur.
  • Twitter is good for receiving frequent and regular updates about topical items. Tweets are written by the people, for the people, and so there is no censorship. For example, Twitter was a good source of information about Tropical Storm Irene. On the ground perspectives during the London riots were published quicker and more candidly than was possible on the news websites.
  • Wikipedia is a goos starting point for research on your chosen subject, but beware! As we, the general public, are Wikipedia's self appointed editors (yes, you too can contribute), accuracy of the information published is questionable. As long as you bear that in mind, you should be OK.
  • Internet forums provide fertile ground for discussion with like minded people. There is a forum that caters for just about any subject you can think of. Because peoples' opinions vary, you will often find disagreements on forums. And because both the informed and the uninformed visit forums, expect an abundance of misinformation. Always question what you read on forums, unless you know the poster is a trustworthy source.
  • Social Media - Twitter, Wikipedia and forums are all examples of User Generated Content (UGC). Another example is Facebook. Gazillions of people use Facebook every day to connect with their friends. You can set up a group and control who becomes a member of that group, and thus control access to the material you make available to it. For example, you might set up a ballroom dancing group and upload videos of yourself dancing. Only fellow members of your group would be able to see those videos.
  • Email - in addition to websites where you can consume information and interact with other people, the internet makes it possible to communicate quickly and effectively with others. The most popular method is email, but instant messaging is used by millions too.
  • Shopping - if you wanted to, you could do all your shopping online. These days, Amazon supplies just about everything you might want to buy. eBay is an online auction where people buy and sell their own items. But in addition to providing a marketplace for buying and selling, online store like Amazon and eBay are a rich source of information. I regularly consult user reviews on Amazon whenever I'm thinking of buying a book. eBay can give you current market prices for items you might be considering selling.