In my previous blog post I started making the distinction between software features that are used to
1) drive webpage clicks and generate ad revenue
2) features that support online social learning.
My first example was the “like” buttons that are found at many social networking sites. Learners need the support of other types of buttons such as “I’m confused”.
A source of frustration for online learners is that so much content on social networks if not sourced. This is true of all types of content, but it can be illustrated with images. The image shown here was found on this webpage. What is the source of this image?
The webpage that displayed the image says “photographs of Mars”. Here are some of the comments from frustrated web surfers of that webpage:
- “Is that first picture actually a photograph?”
- “What is the source of the first image?”
- “I would love to see some proof that these are from Mars, a source or similar”
- “They should have a caption of which spacecraft took these and where on Mars they are. I wonder where you can go to find the original source.”
- “source of this should be praised”
The source of anything should be cited and doing so would facilitate praise for the creator and aid online learners. I’d like to see a code of ethics for social networking websites. Any website that allows people to upload content should have a policy that encourages the citation of sources for content. For websites that allow the posting of content, it would be trivial to add input fields for use in citation of sources. It would also be useful to have buttons that allow readers to flag content as unsourced.