Journalism 201 Section 310
15 October 2013
Crap Detection 101
“Crap Detection 101” by Howard Rheingold is an article about how to find accurate and trustworthy information on the Internet when there is so much false information on the web just waiting to fool people. This is quite an important issue when most people’s first inclination when it comes to finding out a bit of information is to “Google it”. The world has become very dependent on the Internet for information, but with so much false information out there, it is important to know how to tell what is true, and what is fake. Rheingold discusses how to determine the credibility of information in a number of different ways in this article, but as it is an article on how there is a need to determine credibility of information, why should anyone take Rheingold’s word for any of this? Because unlike many of the people who post on the Internet, Rheingold is a very credible source.
Much of Rheingold’s past has revolved around computers from typewriters on, and he has spent much of his time writing books about the merging of people and technology. He wrote Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Amplifiers and Virtual Reality discussing topics of virtual experiences (Rheinhold 2 n.d.). As he, and technology progressed, he was one of the main workers and the Executive Editor of HotWired, but soon moved on to help create the website Electric Minds which, in 1996, was named one of the top ten websites by Time magazine (Rheingold 2 n.d.). He continued to write and work on humans and technology, but he then also began to teach what he knew about people and their technology, and the way they depend on it to answer their questions and give them information. He has taught his knowledge at such schools as: Standford University, UC Berkeley’s School of Information, and De Montfort in the UK. At these schools he as taught courses on digital journalism, participatory media/collective action, virtual community/social media, and so on. Rheingold has also given TED talks, created an educational YouTube channel, won at MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning competition, and continues to teach through Rheingold U, an online learning community that he created to help educate the public (Rheingold 2 n.d.). His interest in “crap detection” started when he wrote “The Tragedy of the Electronic Commons”, a book on the first people to use Internet as means to spam people (Rheingold 1 n.d.). His interest in the bonds of people and technology and his extensive professional life with these issues makes him a credible source on the subject.
Many of these experiences have given him opportunities to work with technology and how people interact with them, but more than that, they have given him a sense of just how much “crap” is on the Internet, and how best to sort through it to find the truth. In “Crap Detection 101” Rheingold explains to do just what was done in this report: look into the author, sources, and the claims that are found on the Internet. Doing this will help clear the truth from the “crap”.
1 Rheingold, H. (n.d.). Crap detection 101.
2 Rheingold, H. (n.d.). Howard rheingold’s story. Retrieved from