Ask Slashdot: Is the Internet Your Source of Knowledge?


Here's A Really Neat "Ask Slashdot" feature on how much we rely on the good 'ol Net for our daily dose of news and knowledge.
I've gradually abandoned almost all other sources of news, to the point where TV, magazines and news papers have pretty much disappeared from my life, but unlike the Slashdot guy, I still get a fair amount of "Information" from books.
He's got a good question, and there are some really Good Answers at Slahsdot, but I'm curious about the LISNewsterz... "Is the Internet Your Source of Knowledge?"

From his post:

"...but if I'm trying to look up something and can't find it online in a couple minutes I generally just blow it off, as if there's no other place to look. This realization seems sort of stunning. I'm very curious if other Slashdot readers have become dependent on the Internet to that level, and what their thoughts are on the subject." "


I go to the Internet for a lot of informational needs like news, research, updates, and the like. However I rarely t make it an exclusive source for anything except the most trivial of things.

To explain, when I'm writing an essay or working on a paper or something to that effect, I may go to the Internet for sources and information, but I always wind up with books, newspapers, magazines, and other dead tree sources. Frankly I've found the Internet to be lacking in some areas. Depending on the subject, there might not be enough in depth information available, sources may not be cited, the information itself doesn't stand on its own, etc. Sometimes the author has zero creditibility even though they may actually know what they're talking about. But how am I to know this when they don't "sign" their page in some way? If Dr. Zahi Hawass puts up a stellar page on Egyptology but doesn't sign it, it's pretty useless to me from an academic standpoint. I have to know who wrote it.

However if I'm just out for information for my own pleasure, then it doesn't matter as much. I know that I can trust sites like the Internet Movie Database when I can't figure out who some actress is in a movie. And even it's wrong, it's not exactly earth shaking news that's going to blow all credibility. Basically, if it's trivial information like who's who in a movie, who wrote some book, who drew something, or whatever, it doesn't matter to me if I use only the Internet.

Going a bit further, the Internet has replaced TV and papers for me in a lot of ways. While I still watch the TV for news, it's usually the news programme I'm interested in. I'm a huge fan of Don Imus, and I watch his show not only for the news, but also because I like him. Sitcoms are crap, but I can check out sites like Homestar Runner for a good laugh. Besides, I like cartoons better anyway. My local paper carries some really boring comic strips. I mean, does anyone really read and enjoy Rex Morgan? But it doesn't matter since I can go to Ucomics and for my daily dose of Dilbert, Doonesbury, Arlo & Janis, Frazz, and Andy Capp. Additionally, I find the access to different sources of news other than my local paper to be very useful. I can get a better feel for a story when I see how my local paper reported it compared to The Guardian UK, The London Times, The New York Times, and the Asahi Shimbun.

From the standpoint of lackluster TV, dull news reporting, and boring entertainment, the Internet simply offers a better product.

I have never subscribed to a newspaper, I get almost all of my news online.

But I feel really comfortable about doing that, because if I can't find what I need on the open web, I also have quite a few resources available to me at work.

Sometimes I'm not a big fan of the internet though, when I visit similiar sites and see a the same bit of news posted twice, like this

: )

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