Using social media for news

Jake Keeley

In a world where my financial situation, or lack thereof, restricts my ability to consume regularly scheduled television programs, I, like many others, must resort to alternative methods to get news. News in this sense contains a bevy of topics, including but not limited to politics, sports, music and so on.

Aside from camping out where cable is available, I have found that my preferred choice of consuming ‘news’ is from Twitter. Sure, there are topic related sites that could perhaps be a better source for that particular subject, however Twitter allows me to access one page where all of my news is condensed onto a single page. Along with that, Twitter is something I trust. Accounts are verified, information is backed up, and there are thousands upon thousands of fact-checkers.

To imagine that a social networking service would be my most trusted news source 10 years ago would be laughable. However, in many ways, social media has evolved into more than just keeping tabs on your friends. This has been demonstrated across many platforms, probably most recognizable through Snapchat. In what began as simply a way to share pictures with friends that would supposedly be erased for good has now grown into another avenue to get news. The ‘Discover’ area on Snapchat now has content ranging from Vice, to CNN, to ESPN with everything you could want in between. Albeit some of the information is not as dense relatively speaking, but it is information nonetheless.

This brings me to Facebook. In its infancy Facebook was incredible. A way to stay connected with friends who you may no longer see anymore. A platform where all of the good aspects of Myspace (except for music on your page) were kept and all of the bad aspects were discarded. However, for as quick as the climb to the top was, the descent was twice as fast.

In it’s current state, Facebook is near unbearable. If it weren’t for it’s original intent, to stay connected with friends, I would not be on there. With an amalgamation of strange videos posted from obscure names you hardly recognize, to extreme political rants from names you certainly recognize, any real content has been drowned out.

Aside from that, there are people who can’t seem to discern what’s what, and proliferate the spread of fake news. Facebook itself is scheming ways to stop the spread of this, but you can hardly blame them. On the other hand, it is hard to blame people who did not grow up in the age of the Internet for automatically thinking that a headline is true. If the newspaper was their source of information, then to them a headline is true.

Perhaps the blame lies within my own construction of my newsfeed. I’m certain there was a time when the number of friends was more important than the quality of friends, and certainly it doesn’t take many bad apples to corrupt your entire feed. But, I shouldn’t say that it is all bad though, as there are some relevant uses for it. All I am saying is that it could use some maintenance. Either that, or we all go back to Myspace.