Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Do you believe that social media has increased the quality of news and information or decreased it?

The latest news scandal breaks, or a tragic natural disaster takes place, the first thing people do nowadays is taken to social media, to add their own personal opinion. For example “On Nov. 3, 2008, the day before the US presidential election, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama had 2,379,102 Facebook supporters while Republican candidate John McCain had 620,359. Obama had 833,161 MySpace friends and McCain had 217,811. Obama had 384% more Facebook supporters and 383% more MySpace friends than McCain.”[1] Through social media even topics that bore most people like politics can be brought to the forefront. Whether it’s through a tweet, share or like, news and information is popping up everywhere on websites we visit every day, and now even in the palm of our hands! Smartphones increase the volume of information being sent and received because they’re usable on the go. As the amount of information and news being shared through the convenience of social media continues to increase, I believe the contents quality becomes questionable. When we turn to the internet for a report or personal interest, it can take a minimum of three different sources to establish the truth, or an opinion of our own. Websites like Wikipedia contain user-generated content, that can be edited at any time, and tend to create false and biased information. Along side Wikipedia most articles are written from the point of view of one person, expressing their personal opinions and feelings. With the advances of social media it isn’t always negative, the amount of information and news placed effortlessly in front of us has made many people that were regular uninformed individuals, into knowledgeable caring and opinionated citizens of the world’s topics. Social media’s main purpose seems to be participation, giving people the ability to share from all over the world and well on the go. Regardless of the content quality or creditability, the average person’s curiosity will continue the circulation of information and news true or false each and every day. Whether it’s a tweet, like or share, there’s something interesting to be found out there for everyone.

[1] ProCon.org. (2012, January 5th). Are social networking sites good for our society? Retrieved February 7th, 2012. 

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