Verifying Information in Challenging Environments for Citizen Monitors

On any given day, much of the information we receive is from sources like social media, SMS, email, and the Internet. The information sent to us is both solicited and unsolicited. What it all has in common, though, is its attempt to influence the information we use to support a particular message (you can learn more about message development in Creating Persuasive and Powerful Messages.)

As citizen monitors, often you will be soliciting information from these sources through a process called crowdsourcing. There are many ways to define crowdsourcing, but for your purposes the following fits best:

Crowdsourcing is the collecting of information, ideas or content from a large group of people, particularly from an online community.

The ability to collect and present factual information is critical to the success of any advocacy initiative. You want to ensure that the information you are presenting is reliable and factual. False information can harm not only your credibility, but also the message you are trying to promote.

A challenge with crowdsourced information is that it is collected from different users, who can be known or unknown to the person who is collecting information. Crowdsourced information can therefore present problems as it relates to the reliability and credibility of the source and the content. This course is designed to teach you how to analyze this type of information to ensure that you are disseminating factually correct and accurate information.