Long gone are the days of newspapers and cable tv newscasts being the preferred outlet for readers. As some of you saw on Sunday evening, Presidential Nominee Donald Trump stated “Twitter happens to be a modern-day form of communication. You can like it or not like it. I’m not unproud of it.” This brings to question something I have considered for quite some time now which is, how reliable is social media to convey information that we consume and ultimately lead our lives by?
We’ve all seen articles that stem from some obscure source but seem totally credible, when in all actuality they are absolutely not. I remember earlier this year I saw a Facebook post of an article on some obscure new American journalist website saying Bill Murray was running for president. Well, I wanted to believe in my heart of hearts that was true, so I of course shared the glorious news with my friends. My dream was short lived because I found out later that day that alas, it was a hoax. Whats interesting about this is, other people who I shared with totally believed this to be true just as I did.
News from social media can come from a multitude of sources. Peers, businesses, professionals, journalists’ etc. So how are we supposed to differentiate between what is and is not reputable? Posting information to Twitter, or to Facebook, doesn’t guarantee that it is reliable. It could very well be nothing more than someones opinion or in my case, someone else’s wishful thinking.
Now when I look to social media now for news, I always double-check my sources before I believe anything to be true. I will look to see if the article, or even just the paraphrasing in question has been repeatedly posted by multiple media correspondents. Since we no longer have bonafide information being verified before its printed, we now really have to do our own digging to be sure that the knowledge we acquire is actually valid and sometimes includes real, concrete data or background history. Social media can be great to reach vast amounts of people in so many different areas of the world, but it can go both ways as to whether its spreading the truth, or lies. We have to take it upon ourselves to be the mediators.