Jillian York

Becoming Media Literate

Saw someone on Facebook bemoaning how "the entire internet" fell for the claim that the Turkish government was using "agent orange" against its citizens in the Gezi Park uprising.

The spread of mistruths is not a reason to distrust everything you see reported on social media (nor to decry it as a "menace to society"). It's a reason to do better about parsing the information and its sources.

Just like threatening chain letters and Bigfoot hoaxes, we're supposed to grow out of this kind of dupedom.

I see the growth taking place before my eyes in the Turkish use of social media. It helps to have skillful journalistic people covering the news. (Here's a new Twitter list of English language tweeters on Turkish current events by cultural journalist Robyn Eckhardt for a one-click follow of 20+ accounts. Here's my Turkey protests Twitter list with more than 80.)

The first mention of agent orange I saw was associated with the debunking of that claim, on the twitter feed of NPR's Andy Carvin.

Becoming (social) media literate is a process, and especially messy in a crisis.

But many people have already been through major crises while using social media (for instance, Carvin pioneered the crowdsourcing of citizen journalism during the Arab Spring as I, Jillian York of Global Voices and TIME pointed out in April 2011), so to portray us all as rubes -- and social media as "untrustworthy" -- is inaccurate.

Social media is a tool. It's up to us to use it wisely. As web anthropologist Stowe Boyd says, "The single most important decision we make in a connected world is who to follow."

 

Upheavals: Navigating Our Changing Worlds

In a season of tough shifts, we're making some changes at the site to provide a new perspective on evergreen subjects, and elsewhere on the Internet we're following history as it's being made (and invited to create some of our own). +++++ AT expat+HAREM

You may have noticed our site looks different. We've upgraded to a more powerful (and professional!) blog theme and will continue rolling out improvements (on the fly, so we apologize if you encounter a glitch here/there)... Biggest difference: a new way to navigate our content.

expat+HAREM topics are enduring to hybrid souls and identity adventurers -- the basic truths and conflicts aren't set to expire any time soon. So we've unmoored our content from its original pub date.

We've also randomized the home page offerings to unearth expat+HAREM's riches and help you foster new associations among our favorite subjects. Surf our category menu on the top of the page -- staples like culturefamily,careerself-image -- and surrender to serendipity. Let us know if you discover something you've never seen before!

A cure for world class stage fright: expat+HAREM partners with a life coach teaching women to 'play big', with help from microlender extraordinaire Jessica Jackley of Kiva.org and other top-performers on the world stage. Don't miss Tara Sophia Mohr's Playing Big programregistration closes on April 11!

In other site news: we're talking about publishing and the digital world citizenhow Stockholm-based digital designer Kate England relies on her bicultural background to serve a global clientele, and a recent gathering of cultural chameleons.

+++++ AROUND THE WORLD & AROUND THE WEB

A hearty welcome to another home away from home for people like us, a zeitgeisty new site for international travelers, The Displaced Nation: "a country for those of you who have traveled for so long and crossed so many cultures you don't seem to belong anywhere else".

We don't have to tell you, the world's in an uproar.

We've been attempting to process the changes through Twitter's on-the-ground immediacy and multiple sources.

This interview by Jillian York at Global Voices shows how Andy Carvin at National Public Radio creates his international crisis feed. It's no surprise TIME magazine just named Carvin among the top leaders, icons and heroes to follow on Twitter in 2011. He's innovating contemporary journalism (for both the creators and consumers) while providing on-the-job training to citizen journalists *everywhere*. Priceless.

Quick follow: I've created a Twitter list to more closely follow the uprisings in the Arab world.

Another intriguing Twitter-sourced project is the 2:46 Quakebook, a book about how March's Japanese earthquake affected us all. Proceeds go to the Japan Red Cross. Follow the tale of this globally-sourced creation at #quakebook.

+++++ YOUR THOUGHTS

Care to report something changing in your world this season?