Keeping Current: How Social Updates Affect Our View of News
There has been a lot going on in the world, so much so it can be difficult to understand where you should get your updates.
In the past, it was more customary to watch channels devoted to news or to local morning or evening news sites to get all of your local and worldly updates. Before then, you had only what was aired on the radio or shared in newspapers. While these channels still exist, the number of options that provide news has grown significantly. There are websites, apps, and social media all on top of TV, radio, and published news options. It’s becoming overwhelming. And, while that may be concerning, the biggest issue is not finding your preferred news source but knowing if it’s correct. The ease of social media has made it easy for misinformation to spread, whether purposefully so or not. Yet, despite this concern, many people turn to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to intake all of their news because of the quick and brief method to absorb information.
Beyond getting misinformation about current events, this kind of reliance on platforms where anyone can say anything can actually lead to many problems. From scams to scares, there’s plenty online to be wary of. But when things in the world are heating up — literally and figuratively —it’s hard to discern what’s real and what’s not real. While we may have emerged from the age where certain people in charge call actual news “fake” or try to dismiss actual issues, it’s important that media consumers can tell the difference because there’s a danger in only intaking false news. While it’s not always actually dangerous, it’s still worth being cautious.
But how can we make sure the news we intake is true and correct? Or at least not entirely misinformed? The easiest option is to not rely so heavily on places like Twitter and Facebook for accurate news. So many fake articles are shared that they are just not reliable sources. But you can always double-check sources. Places like Snopes.com and other similar sites are always ready to sleuth out and provide the truth.
Most importantly, remember that satire does exist and that some sites are purposely fake, for humor purposes. So when someone sends you a link from The Onion or Obvious Plant, know that it is in no way true —but could be hyperbolizing an actual issue that is worth exploring.