Social media has changed many aspects of how we receive our news. It is now a constant feed of updates that happen in real-life time. We are able to follow numerous reputable news sources, but the fact of the matter is that we are all journalists these days.
Any person is able to post news through social media, which has allowed us to become more socially aware of current events. For example, photos and videos that were taken by normal people at the Boston Marathon Bombing went viral and informed people what was happening in that moment.
The problem with anyone being able to post news is that you need to question validly. People hear something and it spreads like wild fire through social media – even if it isn’t true. You can see this again with the Boston Marathon Bombing when a fire at JFK Library occurred just after the bombing. People were saying that JFK Library was also attacked, when the reality was that there was an unrelated gas leak. This poses the question, are we more informed or better informed through social media?
We are certainly more informed citizens because of social media, but because of examples like above, we are not necessarily better-informed citizens. We consume news so quickly and are so hasty to share it that we don’t wait for the facts to surface.
Andy Carvin wrote an article on PBS about social media creating a more informed public. He said, “In recent decades, we've put ourselves in a bind by creating news cycles that are faster and faster and faster. And speed is often the scourge of accuracy.” This quote demonstrates the problem between social media and the news perfectly because people want information so quickly that they are willing to risk accuracy.
Remember, we are all journalists in this day and age. Do your part and check your facts before you share news on social media.
University of Minnesota