Influx of Information

In today’s society, the spread of information is faster, more efficient, and more quantitative than ever before. As we physically change the environment, we also adapt to it. The same goes when correlating people and information. Both dramatically change one another and our way of life. Our technological breakthroughs over the last few decades have led to an influx of social networking and mindboggling rates of communication through online outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+.

What is interesting is that these revolutionary sources of communication over the web have significantly changed our lives in other ways as well. Here at Rutgers, the way we operate in the morning and other times of the day for classes is often based on bus times received through nextbus.com. This helps prevent waiting for very long at the bus stops on each campus and is especially handy on weekends when fewer buses are running. In addition, robust cell phone technology and texting has made it easier to meet up with friends and share other breaking information at the touch of a few buttons. These common luxuries today were not existent 10+ years ago.

Social networking has especially grown over the last decade as we’ve thought of new creative ideas and made communication more and more innovative. Since every idea and invention eventually gets dull and boring after a while, it’s important we change the complexity of these networking and blogging sites to keep up with the evolution of technology and keep people happy and interested. For example, myspace was immensely popular in the early 2000’s, and now it is virtually dead and considered laughable in comparison to Facebook, which is much more efficient and robust. Without a balancing act between people and information constantly changing one another, communication would not be nearly as successful a field as it is today.

Bias

Information comes in all different shapes and forms. People either take in information or give out information. As we learned there are different kinds of information around the world. It is our job to interpret the info we take in and determine what it real and what is not. Not everything we hear or read is real, it mores likely to hear or read something thats bias or altered from the truth. Most sources of information change up little things here and there and add a bias to the info. Some people choose to stick with one source to gather their information while most others use many.

A popular way for the younger generation to get information is to use the internet(i.e. google, yahoo,wikipedia). Word of mouth is  another source which most people get information. The main issue with these methods is that an abundance of this information is flawed if not completely wrong. The news is a deeply trusted way of gathering information. The news while most likely correct is often biased, the network you choose will determine what type of information you get. There are many conspiracies involved with the news which shows distrust from some of the worlds population. While there is no sure fire way to get perfect information, everyone has their own opinions on which is the best and will most likely not be swayed.

Information Changes People, but People also Change Information!

Information Changes People, but People also Change Information!

I think information changes people not only every day, but multiple times a day.  The activity we did last class was very helpful and made me realize the frequency of how much information changes people.  My group noted the simplest of things.  For example, once someone sees the name of the Rutgers bus, they either keep waiting or get on.  We also noticed a lot of people texting.  When someone gets a text message, this changes how or if people walk and talk to other people.  Lots of people I noticed, stopped what they were doing to answer a text message, and others kept walking while texting, not noticing anyone else.  Texting while walking I’ve noticed makes people act more antisocially and also unaware of what else is going on around them besides what is on their screen.

On a more complex note, information changes people when they need to make important decisions.  For example, during an election, people often read newspapers or articles online, and view videos or programs on television, to learn about the candidates and better knowledge themselves.  An example of information changing what I do that I think affects me specifically the most are sale signs.  When I am walking in a shopping center, or down a street with shops, perhaps not even intending to buy anything, when or if I see a sale sign, I often am more inclined to buy it.  Advertising definitely has a significant effect on people.  When someone reads “sale” they think that it is more worth their money, and they convince themselves that (even if they were not intending to buy it) they should.  In conclusion, I think it is definitely fair to say that information changes how people think and what people do in important instances, and also in more trivial ones on a daily basis.

People definitely also change information.  Like information changing people, people can change information slowly over time, but even more so now on a daily basis.  With the help of social networking and blogging sites, people can constantly express their opinions.  The best example of this I think is through reviews.  Now, people often do not go to a restaurant, a movie, a hotel, or other places until they read their reviews online.  If people see bad reviews, they often do not go.  What a company may advertise as good may be the same company that someone may say is bad.  I think this is a very important example because as quickly as information can change people, people can change the information.

People constantly post on Twitter and Facebook about many different subjects.  Like my example above, people may discuss something as important as an election on Facebook, which makes it so people are changing information once the information is given to them.  When someone hears one thing on TV, they may have one opinion, and perhaps after seeing their friend’s status, they may have a different opinion.  In this now very fast-paced world, people can change information immediately after information changes people.  In fact, I would say that thanks to blogging and social networking sites, people change information at a higher speed than other people take in information.  In conclusion, just as information can change people in the most trivial manners or over the most important factors, people can change very important information , and also less significant information every day.

The Subtleties of Information

Through our gathering of data on Tuesday, I realized that interactions with information can be much more subtle than I expected.  People can be affected by information when doing something as simple as looking at a watch or a bus marquee; the people we interviewed found it difficult to answer the question, “how do you interact with information?” because the answers were so obvious and trivial.  Almost every choice we make is informed by the acquisition of knowledge, or affects someone else similarly.  This exchange is constant and multidirectional.

I think I already knew this to an extent.  I’ve done a bit of reading on language and sociology, and I know that there are certain innocuous things that can represent very abstract concepts within the human mind.  So the definition of “information” is much more than we usually think it to be, more than the words inscribed in books or on the internet.  One can look at pretty much everything worthwhile in our lives as interacting with information, whether it be learning, creating, writing, consuming media, building relationships, helping others, or even just the acts of seeing and hearing.

This relates to the internet and social networking, the main subject of our class, because being constantly connected to everyone else has changed our relationship with information.  Being bombarded with so much information (most of it relatively useless) at all times of the day has changed the way we interact with others.  Our relationships are now informed not only by physical interactions and spoken communications, but also by all these snippets of trivial verbal communication online.  And who knows how this will affect human psychology in the future?

 

Change vs. People vs. Info

Over time, we have all been fed information to our minds. Whether its from school, family members, friends, or media, we are surrounded by information. With all the information, people can be affected. On the other hand, people have the ability to change information.

When we receive information, our usual response is some sort of action. For instance, before crossing a busy street, one looks both ways to make sure the road is clear. Once someone has realized that it is safe to cross the street, then they cross it. Also when someone receives information, whether through email or text or a phone call, it can change a person’s attitude and emotions. No matter how we receive information, it usually affects us.

On the other hand, people can also change information. Different ways include paraphrasing. For instance, if someone needs to search on a certain topic and are short on time, then they can look up short summaries that can be different from the actual facts. Another way in changing information is how we say it whether its is through text, email, or phone. How we share information can alter what it really means.

 

Information Allows for Manipulation

Information is an interesting idea. It can be sent, received, intentional, unintentional, twisted, misunderstood, etc. While the sending of information is often intentional–I would tell somebody my favorite color is purple because I want them to know that it is my favorite color–sometimes it is unintentional; sometimes the message is unconsciously sent and received by individuals. For example, say you’re going on a bus and you have your headphones in because you’re listening to your favorite song–you may be unconsciously sending a message to others that says you are unapproachable, as you are choosing to not be a part of the public.

Whether conscious or unconscious, information changes the way people act or perceive things. When somebody finds out new information, it ultimately changes their perspective of the world; in some circumstances, it could even change their life. It could be in a small way: knowing my favorite color is purple may make somebody think of me when they see something purple–or it could be in a large way: if you have your headphones on while riding a bus and unconsciously make yourself look unapproachable, you could unknowingly ruin your chances of meeting somebody who could be a good friend.

It’s also interesting to think that while information can change humans, humans can change the information. It is common for people to manipulate information because they want to express a certain message or create a certain idea in other people’s minds. Even when somebody is not flat-out lying, it is common and well-known that people will give information in a certain tone or with certain words to make it sound better or worse than it actually is.

So, information can change us. But more importantly, the knowledge of that causes humans to manipulate information in order to change others in a certain way.

Information and how it Changes People

Information: A Contrasting Approach

 

There’s no question that information changes people.  News headlines have been inciting popular reaction for much of human history.  With the advent of web 2.0, people were capable of viewing information from multiple sources and in a leap forward from web 1.0, people also had the ability to create highly specialized, customized snippets of information about themselves or others and disseminate such information among a large amount of people in a short time.  When the level of information being obtained and spread reached a point where it permeated daily life to a great degree, the question of how information changed people and how people change information began to be asked around the world.

The first question of how information changes people dates back to the beginnings of human history.  Humans have been receiving information during the entirety of their presence on the Earth.  However, in the modern Internet age, information is available in mind-boggling amounts, unlike previous eras where the information supply was much smaller.  As a result of the sheer volume of data people are able to access in today’s world, the brain has to have to have some kind of information filter to prevent an overload of stunning proportions.   When an informal survey was performed for The Republic of the Web course at Rutgers University, a sense of how people operate or set their information filter was gained.  An interview subject remarked that he did not take note of a status post on Facebook unless it involved a death or extremely important news.  From this subject’s response, it can be inferred that people filter information and allow it to change them based on relevance.  Essentially, if the information is truly important, such as that of a death or a class getting cancelled, it passes through the relevancy filter and changes the person in some way, if the information is unimportant, it is blocked by the filter in the person’s mind and never gets noted.

The second question of how people change information is increasingly relevant in today’s user-driven world of Web 2.0.  During the informal survey previously discussed, it became readily apparent that producing information for publication on websites, blogs, social networking sites, clouds, or other Web-based information repositories is easier than ever before.  Every single person interviewed stated that they had a Facebook page and frequently generated information through their own page in the form of status updates, pictures, or comments or on other people’s pages in the form of photos, comments, and likes.  The majority of people approached for this survey affirmed that they possessed a twitter username and used their live feed to spread news about their lives and information about people around them and events happening near them.  The unifying characteristic among people approached for interviews was that they tended to disperse information indiscriminately, often simply using Facebook and Twitter to say what was on their mind without regard to whether or not other people would find it interesting or important.  One thing that was observed during the survey was that ease of use played a big part in determining the population’s participation level in Web media; this phenomenon is one possible explanation of the reason why Facebook and Twitter are much more popular than blogs, they are easier to use and allow people to produce simple snippets of information rather than the deeper detail that blogs require.

After observing and interviewing people about how information affected them and how they were able to affect information, an interesting pattern was noticed.  In order for information to change people, it has to be of high relevance to the person in particular, otherwise it simply gets filtered out of the mind and never gets processed.  In contrast, when people change or produce information, they often do it indiscriminately and in a scattershot manner without giving thought to whether the information they are producing is actually of any importance.  This contrasting pattern of information processing and information generation reflects the evolving nature of modern society; as information becomes easier to create, people have to work harder to filter it and determine if they want to pay any attention to it.

Information, and its changes to and by People

One of the unique traits of human beings is the ability to communicate large amounts of information, and, more importantly, communicate it over large distances, and after death. Throughout human history, information has shaped human perception, actions, and progress. Every dictator burns books (or at least bans them) to limit information which they fear, every child learns a language: the universal human tool for acquiring information, and every business gathers incredible amounts of information on its customers in order to functions, prosper, and deal with day to day expenses. Inevitably, information changes people, and people change information, or at least the format which they obtain it through or the content thereof.

The simplest example of information changing people is telecommunication, be the medium television, internet, or radio. For example, when the video of police brutalizing Rodney King(Rodney King Beating) sparked controversy against the police and government in general, spurring people to seek change. A more entertaining example is “The Game”, an internet in-joke which has spread to almost all young people, wherein if a “player” remembers they are playing “The Game” they must announce that they “lost the game”, thereby causing everyone in their vicinity to “lose”. The affect of that information is little more than to give most people the power to initiate conversation with almost anyone, simply by stating “I lost the game”.

Certainly, human beings also change information: from the invention of the printing press (which began the trend of universal literacy in developed countries) to television (which helped, eventually, to create a national culture in the United States) to, finally, the internet, a human invention which allows instantaneous, seemingly anonymous, communication throughout the world. Human beings create ways to allow information to spread over greater distances f aster every year, creating a world community with delightful paradoxes such a cell phones in countries where food is scarce (Western Africa, Guatemala), and internet access in places where a helicopter has difficulty reaching (Kazakhstan, Kirghistan). There is a darker side to the human drive to alter information: Hitler, Stalin, Robespierre, Mao Zhedong, (and arguably the United States, à la Wikileaks scandal) and multitudes of other herein unnamed figures have attempted throughout human history to control access to information. This trend alone, that government uses censorship to remain in power, demonstrates the power of human beings to use information to their advantage: an idea on a scrap of paper can spark a revolution.

Humans are almost not more than clever monkeys without information, and since it is so integral to our existence as human beings, clearly humans seek to both control and be controlled by information.

Information: give and take relationship

I have learned that information changes people as well as people change information. Everyday, we use information to get us where we need to be. Information gives us the knowledge of what we need to know to get us through the day. Information such as when our bus will be coming or where we have to get to guides us day by day, minute by minute. Without information, we would be lost. By reading information in a new article, a newspaper or magazine, we are changed. The information we take in changes us and our perception.

People change information by blogging, tweeting, posting on Facebook, adding articles to Wikipedia and so much more. What we do for information is what information does to us. We give and we get. By posting information on Facebook and other social networking sites, we are simply living our daily lives, talking to our friends. However, many people do not realize that they are putting their information out there for everyone to see. Our relationship with information is give ant take.

The Influence of Technology

Information that one can obtain can drastically make one’s life different.  For example, I have just recently received a job working at my school’s Student Activities Center.  On Fridays, I work at the information desk where people are constantly asking me random questions.  My life is made much simpler because I can just go on Google and find the answers to their questions with ease.   Without sites like Google, I would not be able to answer some of the obscure questions that I often get asked.  The information that I obtain online makes my job considerably easier.   Information received can also influence the actions that we take.

If someone finds out the information that their bus is leaving in two minutes, that person would be influenced to speed up whatever they were doing in order to catch the bus.  The information that we receive influences our behavior and actions because if we know that we had more time to catch the bus, we would be able to take our time and not rush to the bus.

Additionally, people are not only receiving information, but also changing information.  With today’s technology, one can contribute things such as Facebook posts.  After the Facebook post is displayed, other people are able to contribute and put in their thoughts.  The experiment that I had in class allowed me to see that even texting adds to the changing of information.  As more technological advances arise, it seems that people will be able to change information with even more ease than is already present.