This comes up in my feed today:
I go to retweet it, but stop. How do I know this is true? It’s a little alarm bell that goes off now when something seems just a little too perfect.
I right click on the image, search by image.
I look at the URLs, and I see “mlive.com”. I also note the “/news/ann-arbor/” file structure, which makes me think this is local news. That’s promising, if this is an account of a local story. I click through.
This is gold. A local account from a local paper of a story that happened locally years ago. The photo has a credit, and we have more information.
And I’m more informed now. I first looked at this photo and my mind naively assumed it was the South. Not consciously, but subconsciously. As I read the story I learn more about early efforts to celebrate Martin Luther King, new perspectives on how dangerous it was in some parts. I actually, I do a bit more than that, because the story makes me tear up a bit. Read it yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.
The whole process here takes a few minutes, and that’s only because reading the article takes a bit of time. The process of finding the article took ten seconds. In the end, I moved from senseless retweeting to actually learning something about our history.
I think some people think this stuff — Google Reverse Image, doing a Google Scholar search, looking up whois information on sites — is all just so *small* compared to Big Questions and Critical Thinking etc etc etc. And maybe it is.
But if you can imagine a life of these little habits, each one of which pushes you to dig a little deeper, explore a bit more, dive in a little further — I believe this is the way we start to build a better sort of society, a better sort of digital practice. We start with these habits, we move outward to questions, and deeper into reading. But without the habits, you won’t even start.