The Information is There: Research It!
Last Saturday I joined a lovely group of Iowa bloggers during the #IowaBloggersUnite gathering. The presentations were a mix of slide shows and round table discussions for both seasoned and new bloggers. Everyone, including myself, asked questions in an effort to find ways to be better at what we do.
At one point, we were talking about what types of stories readers like and what they don’t. No matter our audience type, the group was in agreement that discussions about politics drive people away. Regardless which side you are on, there are people who disagree. While I like to utilize my online presence to educate and inform about things like how a caucus works, that’s where I draw the line when it comes to politics.
Give me a second while I find my soapbox.
As parents, we teach our kids about rules and being fair. We stress the importance of being honest and thinking of others. We discuss what is right and what is wrong, and equally as important, why. We remind them to learn all the facts and all sides of the entire story before rushing to judgement. We discourage them from gossiping. Unfortunately, too many adults are quick to make life-altering decisions without thinking through the details and calculating the ramifications.
Don’t be one of those adults.
Just like we tell our kids to get all the facts first and not to gossip, the same holds true about politics and politicians. There is no doubt that Fox News and The Wall Street Journal report more conservatively while MSNBC and The New York Times favor more liberal agendas. In an age where information is available on demand from smart phones with quality cellular service, we hear “news” constantly. We see trending stories on social media, opinions and reactions from friends on Facebook and headlines on our browser’s home page. It’s more important than ever to do what we expect of our children: Learn all sides to the story before making decisions.
If you want to be informed, be truly informed. When you see a Facebook notification pop up on your iPhone 6s with a friend ranting about something that was said about one of the Decision 2016 candidates, take a few minutes to do some research before responding. Go to a variety of news sources that slant opposite directions to get a bigger picture with more details. If you are out driving and hear election news that stirs a reaction, utilize nationwide cellular coverage when you arrive at your destination to find out more while it is fresh in your mind.
According to Pew Research, about two-thirds of Americans owned a smartphone in 2015, up from 35% in the Spring of 2011 with about 68% of smartphone owners using their phones to follow breaking news. Not only are more voters online and accessing information that way, but the candidates are doing the same – taking their messages to various social media platforms.
Here are some apps and resources you can use to stay informed from the comfort of your mobile device:
US Presidential Election 2016 App: With background on all candidates, insights, commentary and news across party lines, you can utilize this app to track important information and events such as dates of debates, conventions and primaries by state. With a focus on the presidential election, it even offers push notifications so you don’t miss the debates.
News Network Apps: CNN, FOX News and C-Span are a few of the networks with websites and apps accessible from your favorite smartphone. They offer interviews, commentary, reports and more about the election, the candidates, the platforms, the controversies and the breaking news. Remember… check multiple sources before making judgments.
RegisterToVote website: If you haven’t registered, do. Now. While you may feel like your vote doesn’t matter, it does. The option to vote is one of the rights and privileges of being an American citizens and helping choose our leaders in the White House as well as Congress in addition to state and local elections. 31 states as well as the District of Columbia allow people to register online to vote. It’s quick and easy allowing more people to register in time for this year’s very controversial, very important presidential election.
Periscope and Meerkat: Voters can now witness campaigns live using these types of livestreaming apps. Behind-the-scenes moments become the subject of public scrutiny from people viewing live video footage via Twitter. This glimpse into what is happening at the moment is the opportunity to see what is REALLY said before it’s edited with a biased slant by the various news agencies.
There are a multitude of ways to find information online so do it. Don’t be one of those adults that believes the first thing they hear. Whether you want to discuss politics online or in person or prefer to keep your opinions to yourself, it’s imperative that you do some election research to know all the details. Having reliable cellular service like U.S. Cellular is key so you can doing your own fact-checking wherever you are.
How do you feel when you see politics discussed online?
21 thoughts on “The Information is There: Research It!”
I really like what you were saying about teaching our kids about not gossiping, but still gossiping about politicians. This election, I’ve been trying very hard not to believe the rhetoric, but actually making a concious effort to listen to what people are truly saying, which seems (unilaterally) to be “I’m so frustrated!”
And yes, I too use my phone as my primary information center, so maybe it’s about time I downloaded the 2016 presidential election app.
Thank you for the insight, Brett. I silently bite my tongue when I see parents preaching to their kids about bullying and gossip at school then turn around and go on a rant about a candidate in a Facebook post. And I agree… “I’m so frustrated!” sums it up!
wow, you are an answer to ap rayer right now!! I want to stay caught up, but just cant seem to find the ability on top of homework chores church and more…. these apps seems like it will make it easier. I need a spot to go to to study and I want REAL info. One of the reasons i dont want to care is because i feel its all rigged anyway… whats the point.. but nevertheless i should at least be getting both sides of the story as you say. thank you for all this info. I LOVED this post.
Appreciate the kind words, Sarah. I understand your “whats the point” feeling and hope you’ll recognize that every vote matters. It’s your opportunity to have a say in the process whether it feels rigged or not.
So important to teach kids to do reasearch!! It is amazing how easiely we can be swayed on things by media coverage and how in our face it is now adays because of technology.
We do our best to not pay too much attention to what the media says, and we do as much research as we can. It’s been difficult, but I hope to teach my kids to research instead of relying on what the media says about the candidates.
I love this post! It’s so important to teach our kids to do their own research and to think for themselves.
I agree, people need to be informed where our country is headed, or really any topic that we want to discuss. It will be a very interesting period in the near future for the US and hopefully we do ok.
Very well said! I agree completely with doing your own research before responding or reacting.
The media can twist anything. I certainly do my own research! Great post!
It’s definitely important for us all to do our own research in order to make up our own minds. I teach that exact thing to my kids. I don’t want them making decisions based on what they hear…I want them to actually research and make informed decisions.
I agree that you should definitely do your own research. That way you can know the facts and not rely on one sided information.
My daughter asked me last week when she could vote. She said the girls on the bus were talking about having a girl president and it would be cool. I told her we don’t just vote because it would be cool. She hasn’t stopped talking about it.
Everyone get out there and vote!
You definitely need to get past the soundbites in the media.
Teach your children and grandchildren if you have them the importance of voting. That we can make a difference. Take heed of the media and do your research. There is no excuse these days not to research for the technology is in front of us everywhere. Teach them that you don’t vote for someone because of the color of their skin or because they are female. Vote for whom you believe is going to do rightly, justly and honestly what is best for the nation and the people.