Friday, 3 February 2012

News Information and Social Media

Q:  Social media has allowed everyday citizens to become authors, editors, and publishers of news and information. Do you believe that social media has increased the quality of news and information or decreased it?

Social Media has allowed everyday citizens to become authors, editors, and publishers of news and information.

First off, I don’t totally agree that Social Media has allowed everyday citizens to become authors, editors, and publishers, but I do suppose on some level that this statement is accurate.  There are just a couple things that I would like to note: a) this statement would suggest that everyday people have the time or ability to post, b) the wording of this statement suggests by using the terms “author,” “editor,” and “publisher” that this would imply these individuals are professional and unbiased, and thus c) this statement would imply that this information and news is credible and of good quality. 

Thus the question at hand, “Do you believe that Social Media has increased the quality of news and information or decreased it?”

I do believe and agree that Social Media has evolved the transmittance of news and information to a more freely state; where both professional and unprofessional individuals may post news and as well, individuals may in return freely reflect on such information.  Furthermore, another great aspect to “everyday citizens” being able to report information through Social Media applications, is that we can also get a general outlook FROM “everyday citizens”.

There are numerous Social Media websites that allow everyday individuals to post and reflect on information and news, such as Twitter, Blogger or other similar sites, as well as individuals may contact magazines or newspapers via the internet to publish such information; but the question is, at what level of quality is this information being published?

Like previously stated, I do believe that Social Media has increased the flow of information and news; however, I do not believe it has increased the quality of the information.

Because Social Media has given “everyday citizens” the ability to freely express and publish information, (I feel) it has really reinforced a theory of the “Telephone Game” when it comes to today’s news.  It is hard to defer true and accurate information from rumours and biased opinions these days when it comes to online Social Media; for example, even in classrooms today, instructors tell their students to try and defer from using as a resource when doing assignments because it can too freely be edited, as oppose to websites privately designed for a specific and more reliable purpose. 

Rumours, ideas, and biases can all start from one point and spread, gradually differing from one re-enactment to the next; and, even potentially creating a tail spin of false facts and negative attitudes, which is in return readily available to the general public.  The key point here is, whether or not we are getting reliable and accurate information from our resources and how are we really to know.

This may seem like an exaggeration, but let’s just say… A person posts a blog (based off of another individuals blog and with no other experience or background knowledge), somebody reads that blog and automatically takes on that new bias, is this justified?  Because, let’s be honest, not everyone is going to go back and check their resources or look for more resources; some will just take that same opinion. How do we know that the information is true? How do we know we can rely on it? And, at to what extent can we accept what the information says?

(SIDE NOTE: This topic reminds me a little bit of the issue of Slander; criminally punishable in our country.)

Furthermore, and again exaggerating, an 18 year old hacked the iPhone and Playstation 3; what are the odds at any given time that another individual couldn’t hack a news station website or other social media website and put a punch of gibberish on it, so how are we to say the information we read on social media websites is true at all or not.

For me, the bottom line for this question is: viewers have no idea for sure who or what posts any of the Social Media information and news and where these people actually got their information from; are they professional individuals or random people posting; and, are these people biased in the information they are posting on; and, is that information credible.