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The truth we can't find

Navigating the stream: the challenge of communicating context

We can't combat clickbait and fake news without understanding why they arose and which of our behaviors feed them. In fact, if we want to have any control of ourselves in the stream, we have to understand how to navigate the newsfeed. I've always been very careful to identify my sources, but communicating context is a new challenge for me. 

How We Get to Next: The Schedule and the Stream, 2017-Jan-27 by Matt Locke

The feed massively increased the visibility of your network on Facebook, and helped raise the profile of stories that were being shared by millions of people in real time. But this came with a cost: These stories were stripped of their original context. If the organizing principle of the broadcast schedule was synchronization — millions seeing the same thing at the same time — then the organizing principle of the stream is de-contextualization — stories stripped of their original context, and organized into millions of individual, highly personalized streams.

Ten years in, we can see the effects. A culture built around the stream is more open and accessible than one built around the schedule, but stories are atomized, which encourages a spectrum of negative effects from clickbait headlines and fake news to trolling. ...

Most importantly, we need to look at our own behavior within the stream. As it’s a performative, oral space, the way we speak, share, and circulate stories has a huge affect on how the stream works as a public space. We need to support behaviors that make context more visible in the stream, like identifying the original creators of content, or identifying the original context of stories before we share them.

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