Faculty News

Technology’s Role in the COVID-19 Pandemic

From teaching college courses to hosting virtual dinners with family and friends, technology is playing a significant role in our lives right now. It’s how we work and learn, and how we are connecting with each other during a time when communities are instructed to stay at home to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In this episode of Michigan Minds, Thomas Finholt, Dean and Professor of Information at the U-M School of Information, explains the impact of videoconferencing, social media, and data collection during a global pandemic.

“One area of impact is definitely around the use of social media for conveying content and information, and bringing to fore the criticality of understanding what’s fact and verified and what’s rumor and speculation,” says Finholt.

He cautions that social media is not a definitive source of information, counseling people to take everything they read “with a grain of salt” and encouraging them to pay close attention to what makes information authoritative.

“Social media is a way to connect with others, but it is also a way for unverified information to become rapidly disseminated, and perhaps in some cases, accepted as fact.”

The increased use of media modalities creates the possibilities for people to gather more data, Finholt says, adding that while these data were always collected for performance reasons, they are now being collected for a more informative use.

Listen to this episode of the Michigan Minds podcast to learn more.

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