I, like many members of my generation, am addicted to my phone. More specifically, the forms of social media that I can access on my phone.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Any time we unlock our phones we are immediately sucked into our many social media platforms… but certainly, this can’t be any good, can it?
As much as it pains us to admit it, social media is slowly but surely taking over – not only is it a platform for us to interact with our friends and celebrities, it’s a news source, a source for advertisements which grant us accessibility to links for products ranging anywhere from Crocs to Ciroc.
Social media, as a whole, is about connecting us to whatever it’s we desire.
While some may argue that social media is leading us to the end, it’s actually a space that allows for connection and news consumption.
According to an article from ConSol partners, on a daily basis over 500 million tweets are posted by over 200 million Twitter users. Admittedly, that’s a lot of tweets, but when we think about the wide range of content we are able to consume because of these millions (and millions and millions) of tweets that number suddenly seems less daunting.
With news sources like ABC News, CNN, Fox News, and CNBC on the Twittersphere, Twitter has undoubtedly become a major news source – specifically with Millennials and GenZ.
An article from ABC News points out that Twitter is an excellent form for crowdsourcing, allowing for first-hand accounts of a Mumbai terrorist attack as well as being one of the first outlets with photographs from US Airway’s crash in the Hudson River, something that occurred in 2009 years before Twitter gained the traction that it now has.
With 67 percent of Americans reported to use Twitter as a news source, according to a study from the Pew Research Center, we would be lying to ourselves by trying to erase the validity of social media as a platform for news. Yes, the threat of “fake news” is more at large on a platform like Twitter or Facebook.
Facebook, however, is now requiring American political advertisers to undergo an authentication process and reveal their affiliation alongside their adverts in order to tame the wildfire that is fake news after learning of Russian intervention during the 2016 election cycle. With regulations such as this, a level of legitimacy is added to the site – making the news Facebook circulates seem far less fake.
Of course, Facebook is only one platform. Apps like Twitter and Instagram are still working toward monitoring their content in a way that doesn’t qualify as censorship – but this is precisely the type of progress that needs to be made in order to make these sources valid.
Snapchat is another popular social media platform that many college-age students go to for news. A study from the Knight Foundation has found that Snapchat is the second most popular social media students turn to in terms of news – coming closely behind Facebook.
Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, social media is growing in popularity as a news outlet. The biggest advantage, of course, being the speed at which stories can be spread and reported. While there may be some flaws in using social media as a primary news source, there is no denying that while on the surface social media seems like a place to see Kylie Jenner’s newest lip kit swatches, it’s also a legitimate platform for new age news.