Motivation and Truthiness

About the Author:

Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud

Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud

Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Assistant Director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation at University of Texas at Austin.

As I’m flying home after such a stimulating conference, my mind is swirling with new ideas and a keen interest in learning what the symposium participants do next. In reflecting on the discussion, an idea that I keep returning to is the role of motivation. Continue reading

Portraying Sources

About the Author:

Judith Donath

Judith Donath

Judith Donath synthesizes knowledge from fields such as urban design, evolutionary biology and cognitive science to build innovative interfaces for on-line communities and virtual identities. A Harvard Berkman Faculty Fellow and formerly director of the Sociable Media Group at MIT Media Lab, she is known internationally for her writing on identity, interface design, and social communication.

To assess the truth(iness) of a message, one of the most useful pieces of information is who is the source? Is it someone you trust? Distrust? Never heard of? What personal stake does the messenger have in persuading you? The claim that taking mystery tablet X will give you a glowing complexion and concentration to match is most trustworthy when told to you by your close friend (who gains from doing you a favor), and least when told by a tablet X salesperson (who gains commission on your purchase and loses nothing from your disappointment with the product) or your practical joker colleague (who gains if you have an unfortunate reaction). Continue reading

Why Facts Matter to the American Idea

About the Author:

Kate Krontiris

Kate Krontiris

Kate Krontiris leads the Innovations in Governance practice at Reboot, a social impact consultancy rooted in design-thinking practices. She is also pursuing graduate degrees in public policy and management at the Harvard Kennedy School and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

The Atlantic magazine is an American institution.  It was founded in 1857 in an attempt to define and create a distinctly American voice; to project an American stance, to promote something that might be called the “American Idea.”  The magazine gave prominence to the voices of the Abolitionists, and since then, has been on the cutting edge of what is important in our national life (and in the lives of other nations).  Its authors have included Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, and Martin Luther King. Continue reading

On Truthiness and Trust: Teens, Trust, and ICT’s

About the Author:

Denise E. Agosto

Denise E. Agosto

Associate Professor in the College of Information Science & Technology at Drexel University

Related to the concept of “truthiness” is the concept of “trust” — trust in information, trust in information outlets, trust in people as information providers.  In my research with teens and their use of information communication technologies (ICT’s) for personal communication and interaction, I have noticed a fascinating trend among U.S. teens: the increasing judgment of the trust value of specific types of information technologies.  This assignment of trust judgments to individual technologies can perhaps best be seen in the widespread teen perception of cell phones as being highly trustworthy for receiving and sending information, and landline phones as being highly untrustworthy. Continue reading