WSU Common Reading Welcomes Lorena O’English to Ponder Whether Pictures Shared in Social Media Can be Taken at Face Value

PULLMAN, Wash.—Technology-savvy Lorena O’English will present “Making Sense of Those Crazy Pictures in Your Facebook Feed” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, in Todd Hall 130 on the Washington State University campus. The free public event is hosted by the Common Reading Program.

A social sciences librarian on campus, O’English is passionate about keeping the facts straight, and that applies to what’s communicated using social media and the Web.

“The perfect storm of the digital camera, photo-sharing sites like Instagram, and the rise of web-based social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have made photographs and infographics hugely popular,” says O’English. “But should those pictures and charts always be taken at face value? Can we rely on them or are they sometimes…wrong?”

In her Tuesday presentation, she will touch on things ranging from images to verification methods to intellectual property.  She will “show some examples and discuss strategies for critically evaluating that wild picture of ominous clouds over Manhattan that your cousin posted last month.”

O’English says she hasn’t always been curious about technology but that changed at WSU.

“At a previous job, my experience and interest was limited to being the one who could make the copier work. Then one day around 2003 here at WSU, a student showed me a flash drive and asked a question I couldn’t answer because I had no idea what a flash drive was. As a librarian I decided that was unacceptable. By 2004 I’d learned so much that I was writing a blog!”

The topic of the O’English presentation springs from topics raised in the 2013-14 common reading book, “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error.” The book is being used in many first-year classes. This is the seventh year of the common reading program, which is intended it use a common source to stimulate academic, intellectual conversations around a variety of topics.

For additional common reading and related events, visit the program’s website.

March 10, 2014

CONTACT: Karen Weathermon, Co-Director, WSU Common Reading Program, part of the Office of Undergraduate Education, 509-335-5488,

Beverly Makhani, Communications, Office of Undergraduate Education, 509-335-6679,