Misinformation, disinformation and dysinformation

First, I’d like to make a distinction among the three sorts of information named in the title. In doing so, I would like to use a metaphor.

We are swimming in a sea of information, 24/7, all the time. This “sea” is in its simplest form a sea of misinformation. The way we swim in this sea, depends on our swimming skills, our skills in perceiving and distinguishing the various sorts of information contained in this sea. The import part here? It’s ALL misinformation, at least to start with.

As we start to make certain distinctions among the specific items of informations in this sea, we find some items useful, some not so much. Those that we find useful, we file away, and perhaps even need to communicate this specific information to others–for instance our loved ones, and those that we work with.

Back to the sea. In the sea of information (or misinformation, if you will) there are nets that have been set by others, for their own ends and means, to trap us! These nets–nets of disinformation are exactly that–traps! These nets are also known as propaganda, lies or political hogwash!

I hope I haven’t lost you.

The third term I’m going to leave you with is dysinformation (malformation in the the illustration – Thanks Claire Wardle)!

The place in our metaphor for dysinformation(ie. malformation) is the time or place where the sea we are swimming in gets roiled by storms or the activities of other swimmers or passing ships or other vessels. Now we, as swimmers, not only have the myriad items of information to deal with, plus the hazardous disinformation nets, but we have all these artificial (in some cases natural) currents that are stirring things up, and making information that might already be hard to decipher, truly muddy!

We are living in times where the seas of information are extremely complex. Even with the political disinformation that has always been a part of the scene, the degree of dysinformation that’s part of everyday life can be overwhelming. The sources of this dysinformation? Always-on news media; social media; our phone apps, which constantly add not-necessarily-wanted inputs to an already complex information scene.

So, how do we manage all of this noise? One way is by eliminating some of the noise generators! Social media? (Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok) Get rid of them! Or at lease reduce their availability–taking them off your phones!

News media? Same thing. Decrease its availability. Again by taking the news off your phone, cancelling subscriptions, otherwise toning it down! A blogging friend of mine says this:

“I’m trying to stay at home as much as possible and avoiding reading the news too much.”

By eliminating some of the dysinformation perhaps you can start getting some of the quiet back that you need to make good decisions, communicate clearly to those you care about and start to win back some of the piece of mind that you need to live well.

As always, I’d like to hear from you. Please leave comments or write to me directly at connectednurses@gmail.com.

About Gerry Wieder

Gerry is a former Registered Nurse, currently living in the Seattle area of the United States.
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