Effectively using tools
Like many others have mentioned, I use tactics like lateral reading and choosing sources that I know are established to identify and vet credible sources. I look for biased wording and author motivations when examining information. I follow accounts I trust on social media and I question the things sent to me from friends and family who are less likely to forward/retweet responsibly. It would be great if there was a single location for finding the truth, fact checking, and addressing conspiracy theories, a 1 stop shop. That would be a gigantic undertaking and require constant updating, but it would make things easier to information users who often want the easiest and quickest way to find information.
I believe that social media is a technology that is here to stay, and it is an important tool that libraries can use to help teach and connect with the community. With so much misinformation spread through social media, I believe it is important to libraries and librarians to have a presence on social media as well. In library school, the importance of getting out of the library and meeting users where they are was stressed. If users are getting information on social media, shouldn’t librarians be there also? There is a conversation happening, but we cannot participate if we are not there.
Many libraries already have social media accounts, but are we using them effectively? Are they just for announcements or are we engaging users? Librarians already wear many hats, but it might be worth considering one more if we can connect with users and connect users to information using a social media strategy. This of course requires time, effort, and creativity, and it may not be for everyone.
Studies have shown that we process and remember visual information better than text, and humor is helpful for remembering as well (I am sorry I do not have the source for that statement). That is why memes are such successful modes of misinformation spreading. Libraries can use this same tactic to teach users how to better find information. Creating memes could be used as a library instruction program, an assignment, or even a contest!
A good social media strategy can result in sharing. This could help break into some filter bubbles and increase our reach. Paris K. provided the reference of the Steak Umms account, that is an excellent example of a social media account that provides entertainment, insight, and education. Libraries can provide on their social media and websites an information literacy tip of the day. Or suggested follows for health, news, or government information. Social media is a technology that will only increase in use and information spread, we need to find ways to use it effectively.