On November 29th, Lee Rainie reflected on a number of trends related to trusth, politics, and culture in a hyper-connected world at the Institute for Public Relations 56th Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner. Rainie’s remarks, which were built on empirical research data from the Pew Research Center, touch on challenges like what David Foster Wallace called an era of “Total Noise,” rampant political polarization and, a fractured media ecosystem that allows people to “customize their trust.”
From the event description:
“In this hyper-connected world today, it is vital public relations professional act as stewards of this fast changing environment. Last Wednesday at the Institute for Public Relations 56th Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner, Lee Rainie, Director of Internet and Technology Research of the Pew Research Center, discussed the most important digital trends in communication every PR professional should be aware of in this growing world.
Rainie talked about the impact of bots, online harassment, fake news in an environment filled with noise. He introduced the attendees to a new word, agnotology, defined as the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt. He emphasized the importance of research and empathy during a time when outrage is encouraged over civil discourse.
Under Rainie’s leadership, the Pew Center of Research has issued more than 500 reports based on its surveys that examine people’s online activities and the internet’s role in their lives. He also directs the Center’s new initiative on the intersection of science and society. The American Sociological Association gave Rainie its award for “excellence in the reporting on social issues” in 2014 and described his work as the “’most authoritative source of reliable data on the use and impact of the internet and mobile connectivity.’”