What does it take to be an informed activist? Calling all librarians, researchers, and sub-subs!
Fake news is our problem. We create it, innocently, by accident. Journalist simplify information in order to make it more consumable. Citizens share stale old moldy articles before double checking the source — what is a source, anyway? What are the different kinds of sources? Our insatiable desire to consume headlines spurs us on to the next click-bate before we exam what’s been said and whether it really lines up. And of course, there are the righteous articles written by our favorite ideologues that confirm our greatest hopes and fears. We’re so trigger happy, we have to re-educate ourselves to stop and think again: facts before sharing, as Patrice at the Chicago Public Library knows.
Do not despair. We did this before, when we first started using and then abusing email. Remember the netiquette we had to learn? We can do this. But, we need help. If only there were someone in this world trained to review content and sort it based on its veracity and value, in the context of a larger opus… Calling all librarians!
A Manifesto — you go for it, I’m right behind you
I know at least some of you are taking up the cause to re-inject truth into the civic conversation. I hope you get a manifesto together — Read 2 sources for every meme I take to heart. Yeah, well, that’s why you all should be writing up the manifesto. Helping…
Also, we could really use a list of things a citizen could do before performing a civic duty. You can skip: before becoming president, memorize the constitution & bill of rights. Or maybe not. But I was thinking more like: If as I citizen I am going to show up at a town hall meeting or sign a petition or vote, what basic things can I do to prepare: read at least 1 article from each side of the issue? know where my representatives stand? Big project, but for starters I have this ask:
What’s a citizen to do?
If someone is going to show up at a protest or rally or action, how should they prepare — not the rain poncho and electric vigil candle kit— but mentally. I’d like to know who set it up, what is the problem, what are some solutions being offered, what’s will be considered a success for this particular action… So, like a protest kit, is there some basic steps we should take to make sure we’re participating as fully as we can?
- Read an article about the issue that’s fair?
- Reputable news channels cite two sources: shouldn’t a civic activist be able to do so as well?
- Read an article from another viewpoint? (Not balanced articles: they can dilute the issues at hand, right? Choose in-depth arguments over equal time?)
- Know who you’re marching to as well as who you’re marching from?
- Read ballotpedia.org?
Not all of us can watch C-Span 2 all day, so the idea is, given an hour or two, the week before you’re going to a civic event, how can I prepare? Librarians, help a sister out, here.
Let’s talk data schemas
Next ask: we’re consolidating information about some of the actions and organizations popping up right now. Want to help with a data schema and research? Let me know.