Review: How to Distinguish Good and Bad Information Online by Howard Rheingold

Video coverThis video series by Howard Rheingold helps the viewer try to determine what is junk and what is valid information on the web. There are 12 different video segments that let you jump to just the information you are looking for, or you can watch them all at one time. The program is set up in an interview format so that it is not just a talking head video. The interviewer is asking Mr. Rheingold various questions to keep the video on topic and moving forward.

I love the information given, though I think it is a little basic. This is the kind of information that is helpful for someone new to the Internet or that friend who forwards every email hoax to you. Mr. Rheingold really targets this information for children; however, I think kids who have parents on the Internet probably know most of this information. If you are concerned about your kids getting duped into believing bad information online, then this would be a good video series for you.

One section of the video includes tips on how to use search engines. It does not go into detailed search strings you can use to refine your search, rather it gives tips on how to use search to find out if the information you are being told is legitimate. There is also a section on tracking down the truth of what you think might be an urban legend. I wished more people would learn that instead of posting to Facebook and their entire email list a bunch of false information.

Most of the sections are 10 minutes or less. It is something that can easily be watched in chunks of time. The whole program is 1 hour and 42 minutes long.

I don’t like the title of the videos, though I understand it is probably not offensive to most people. However, I always think a publishing company limits their ability to sell books  when they use a questionable word in the title or an inappropriate picture.

Crap Detection 101: How to Distinguish Good and Bad Information Online can be found at O’Reilly. Because it is a video series you can only buy it directly from the publisher. It is available for download or streaming off their website.

[Disclaimer: I was given a free review copy of the video series]

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