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IRL - Online Life Is Real Life

By Mozilla

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Our online life is real life. We walk, talk, work, LOL and even love on the Internet – but we don’t always treat it like real life. Host Manoush Zomorodi explores this disconnect with stories from the wilds of the Web and gets to the bottom of online issues that affect us all. Whether it’s privacy breaches, closed platforms, hacking, fake news, or cyberbullying, we the people have the power to change the course of the Internet, keeping it ethical, safe, weird, and wonderful for everyone. IRL is an original podcast from Mozilla, maker of Firefox and always fighting for you.

Customer Reviews

Like the idea but feels like propaganda

Even as someone who agrees with most of what is being said in the two episodes I listened to (net neutrality and all access pass) I felt uncomfortable and disappointed with how the messages were being delivered. For example I do think the skits that start the shows are kind of neat, but also set up the episodes to have heroes and villains, which forces a specific narrative from the get go.

Many of the conversations feel scripted, patronizing, and sound more like propaganda than a genuine exploration of the biggest issues and ideas affecting today's internet user (i.e. everyone).

The episodes seem to start with certain assumptions and conclusions that the audience is expected to agree with and then work to reinforce those beliefs, the attempts at challenging them are quickly presented and dismissed. It is reminiscent of Fox News' old fair and balanced segments, which were generally anything but fair and balanced.

It is also unclear what age group and knowledge level is expected from the audience. About half the time I feel like the discussion is curated for middle schoolers, the other half for adults. But I wonder if Mozilla is underestimating their audience.

However I see a lot of potential for growth, and the concept is a good one. If I was working to improve this show I would be looking to emulate professional journalism, maybe brush up on philosophy to construct better more nuanced arguments, and try to maintain the enthusiasm that is present.

My thoughts

I am a retired political scientist. I live in Washington, D.C. I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast. Information on electoral politics has gone a long, long way since I left the undergraduate classroom in 2002. This bundle of online journalism is FANTASTIC. Today’s generation of students, regrettably, is more likely to consume podcasts like this, because THEY DON’T HAVE TO READ. The podcast enables them to passively consume information WITHOUT having to put forth much effort. Let’s call this “passive information consumption,” which does not involve very much effort. The empirical questions are (1) how closely have the listeners listen?; and (2) what have the listeners learned? Does this medium more effectively facilitate learning than more traditional active reading? This is an empirical question for media savvy learning theorists, which I am not. While I like this podcast-based approach, learning involves WORK and putting forth effort, e.g., close listening and note taking. It’s analogous to listening to a more traditional lecture. The positive is that you can replay the podcast to check your recollection. The world is changing; I like the new model of information dissemination.

Useful and needed

Keep it up. This is a necessity these days.

IRL - Online Life Is Real Life
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Customer Ratings