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Social Media is not news

By Emily Rosenberg

Editorial Staff

We can all admit to having spent more time in a day scrolling through social media than reading.

No matter how many times my mom responds “...Facebook” when I ask what she’s reading, nothing will ever substitute the real thing – a newspaper.

Why bother? It’s boring.

The Washington Post alone publishes around 1,200 stories per day; and that’s less exciting than what your “friend” ate for lunch?

Though the news can be boring, depressing, or silly on occasion, it is an essential source to forming your views of the world – politics, education, your peers, everything.

Yet, more and more we’re relying on social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, and Reddit to deliver this valuable information to us. Whether it’s the restriction of paywalls on journalism sites, the lack of trust in modern journalists, or the thrill of seeing a story unfold as everyone goes bananas over a politician, it has become clear that amongst the young generation, following official media has become old news.

Of course, how could anyone feel inclined to read the news when everyone from the 13-year-old you babysit to your 99-year-old grandma are sharing their hot takes? This is a lot more intriguing.

Instead of learning from the facts, we’re learning from anger.

While social media can expose us to opinions and perspectives all around the world, it has also stripped our ability to first interpret and gather our surroundings on our own. Instead of reading and sharing straight news from sources such as The Boston Globe, social media users share snapshots of headlines from accounts that are often unverified and include commentary that are typically aggressive and critical.

This might be a way to snap someone mindlessly scrolling out of a trance and encourage them to get involved, but it also forces them to take a specific position on the story without even knowing all of the facts. It seasons their view before they have a chance to see everything. Furthermore, if the reader never encounters the rest of the story elsewhere, they may only consume the guided or corrupted piece, leading them to spread an obstructed or incomplete perspective.

It’s also crucial to consider where the information is coming from. Is the person qualified to be speaking on the issue? What experience or knowledge do they hold? After all, they could be just another average angry citizen with less credibility on the topic than you.

Unverified accounts could be spreading disinformation to stilt our views. They could also be sharing misinformation or completely false information unintentionally. This not only hinders your ability to shape an unbiased and fair perspective of the world, but if you share it, it will also harm everyone else, too. It also makes you look incompetent.

While a lot of official news sources are biased as well – rejecting certain facts and using selective diction – they are far less likely to report false news due to their high status and professional staff. Reading and watching multiple sources can also help you recognize partisan or stilted journalism.

Also, ask why they want your attention as intentions and identities can often be performative or deceiving.

For example, in 2016, Russia allegedly created hundreds of thousands of accounts on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter to spread propaganda and radicalize followers.

Social media can be a great place to convene with others and share ideas, but it has become a catalyst for misinformed, angry citizens. When we rely on our social media friends to give us the scoop on everyday happenings, we only hear the stories they care about out of the millions that are published every day. Your perspective of the world will be shaped by the words they think and say and you’ll begin to see the world through the rants they post and share.

Journalists dedicate their whole lives to delivering the truth, so why not put our faith back in them?

It can be as easy as opening up Spotify to the podcast section, turning on Channel 7, or Googling “news.” If you’re here, it looks like you’re already off on the right foot.


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