Page 4

Part 1: Critical reading/summary of ‘Persuasive technology’ page 122-171.

The chapter provides a few tips on how credibility works both conceptually and in practice. It notes that things like a more ‘personalized approach’ help make people believe something is credible. It also mentions trust, stating that the best way for a site to appear credible is to appear inviting and trustworthy. Being well presented and also having a good reputation and of course by carrying a level of expertise.

In addition, it goes on to talk not just about the fundamentals that make up credibility but also why it is important for any business, including websites to be credible.  Adding to this is Aaron Wall (2010) who writes:

“Rankings without trust have little value. It is hard to sell to somebody unless they trust you.”(Wall 2010)

It is fundamental to business to be credible and especially on the internet where information and almost all kinds of consumer services can be found a website needs credibility if it wants to stand on its own two feet and not accidentally be dismissed as false information. This is obviously also important for the consumer, Virginia Montecino offers a few helpful hints on how to spot a credible website, despite being old the advise holds up:

“Is there any evidence that the author of the Web information has some authority in the field about which she or he is providing information? What are the author’s qualifications, credentials and connections to the subject? ” (Monecino, Virginia 1998)

Interestingly, according to Jennifer Greer (2006) website information may actually start to be considered more credible than the traditional media, as she writes:

“The credibility of online information is of particular interest to traditional mass media outlets, which have seen their credibility decline since the mid 1980’s. More than 20% of the public now say they do not believe much or all of the news reported by national news media.” (Jennifer Greer, 2006 Mass communication & Society page 12)

Part 2: Why is Wikipedia not an accepted source for information?

Shelley E. Phipps and Krisellen Maloney write on page 103 of ‘Libraries and Google’:

“Libraries have identified themselves have identified themselves as gateways to information. Google, and other internet search tools, have changed the need and importance of the gatekeeper role in Libraries.” (Phipps and Maloney 2005)

The message being that although information seeking through google, and by extension Wikipedia, have changed things, the use of books and libraries should still be given value. For one thing referencing books shows a lot more dedication than a link to a wikipedia page.

More importantly though, Wikipedia is unreliable as a complete source because it’s a free online encyclopaedia that anyone at any time can edit and alter and change. In theory it makes sense that it would have a set up like this; because new information is constantly being found about various topics and so Wikipedia being able to constantly receive new information is rather practical.

However the immediate downside to this is that anyone at any time can contribute to Wikipedia. There is no cost to sign on and no test of expertise or authority on any given topic that someone has to pass to edit a Wikipedia page, so pages can and do frequently get edited by people unqualified to do so. In addition Wikipedia is a very big site with millions of bits of information added and subtracted every day, making it impossible to truly moderate false information from coming through.

This is the reason why people are urged to double check every piece of information they find on Wikipedia, because unlike official websites and books, no authority or expertise or trust is required when it comes to the publishing of information on Wikipedia. Hence it is advised not to rely on it’s sources.

Q1) In dot points, in your own words, list anticipated issues that may affect the users’ perceived Web credibility in future (200 words).

  • Aesthetics and presentation are often used as an example of a credible website over a non credible one, with people being more likely to rely on things well presented. In the future it is possible that everyone will be able to make great aesthetics for websites, so the credibility that comes from professional presentation will be lost.
  • Wikipedia, despite the issues mentioned above, remains the popular choice for information because of its ever increasing flow of information. This could result in static websites that never change or update information on events no longer being considered ‘credible’.
  • In the age of blogs and arguments people’s personal opinions on matters, especially if they can present them reasonably well, tend to get a great amount of representation. Videos on youtube where a guy shouts for five minutes about this or that issue are now used more often in online arguments than actual hard facts. As though ‘entertaining to read/listen to’ is now more important than dry readings of the facts.
  • Right now there are so many different versions of the same websites that determining which is most credible almost comes down to a coin toss. Diversity makes credibly checking difficult.

Q3) find a snapshot of a website that represents each type of credibility and then explain why they are credible.

1: Presumed credibility

The World Wildlife fund is a good example of presumed credibility, without even doing any reading on it the way it looks and the way it is presented carries a very professional feel. It also helps that the WWF’s brand and logo can be seen all over the place in the real world, outside the internet. When you see brands and official movements mentioned in the paper, it’s pretty easy to presume that this is a credible source of information regarding animal rights.

URL: http://www.wwf.org/ (Retrieved May 23 2012)

2: Reputed

The Escapist has been credited in PC magazine and sources as one of the best sources for video game related news on the internet. It has received several ‘webby’ awards and it continues to draw in larger crowds every passing year. It also hosts events like ‘March Mayhem’ where they get sixty four game developers together and have people vote for their favorites, ultimately naming the winner as ‘developer of the year’. With all the acclaim bestowed on it, it’s fair to say that it has a lot of reputation that helps add to a feeling of credibility.

URL: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/ (Retrieved May 23 2012)

3: Surface

Feminist Frequency is a blog run by a single individual who had some additional help putting it all together. The stated goal being to analyze womens representation in media and the popular culture. It has a very professional layout, carefully constructed and well put together and the author’s thesis on strong female icons as well as some of the activities and events she’s attended give it a feeling of expertise in the subject. It is very well presented and also very well written, and both in the written sections and the videos is presented in a very calm intellectually detached way.

URL: http://www.feministfrequency.com/  (Retrieved May 23 2012)

4: Earned

Ebay Australia has proven very reliable when it comes to making purchases and very truthful to the content of those purchases, despite other websites that encourage people to give their credit card information Ebay can be relied on at least to not try to steal credit information and with the rating system you can tell which sellers on Ebay are the best and can be trusted based on their reputation given by buyers, making it less likely that you will be ripped off.

URL: http://www.ebay.com.au/ (Retrieved May 23 2012)

 

References:

Greer Jennifer (2009) Mass communication and society: Evaluating the credibility of online information: A test of source and advertising influence. Mortimer house, 37-41 Mortimer street London. Routledge (2009)

Montecino, Virginia (1999) Criteria to evaluate the credibility of WWW resources. Retrieved May 22, 2012 from:http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/web-eval-sites.htm

Phipps Shelley E. & Maloney Krisellen (2005) Libraries and Google: Page 103. Alice Street, Birminham NY USA. Haworth Information Press.

Wall, Aaron (2010) Website credibility. Retrieved May 20, 2012 from:http://training.seobook.com/website-credibility



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