The grey side of news on social media
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” -Alexander Pope
Now, we cannot say nobody warned us, Mr. Pope clearly did, we just chose to ignore it.
Don’t believe me?
Well, remember what happened when you were all geared up to watch GOT’s finale or when you thought consuming news on social media was the best thing that could happen to you?
We were just setting ourselves up for disappointment there, no cap, because the reality turned out to be pretty opposite to what we imagined.
Social media which was supposed to be the GOAT when it comes to news consumption with its promises of never-ending information flow and engaging content turned out to be just like any other traditional media with problems of its own.
Biased or one-sided news has always been a problematic part of journalism so what changed with the coming of social media?
Well, the opportunity to expose ourselves to diverse perspectives narrowed down much further. Social media platforms’ algorithm works by favoring the formation of groups of like-minded users to reinforce a shared narrative. And we all know that leads to less and less content on our feed that we might disagree with.
So, we never really get to know the other side of the story or sometimes even the whole story.
Were you also swayed by Donald Trump’s claim right before the 2016 US Presidential elections that he started his business empire with a small loan from his father?
Well, that my friend is a perfect example of post-truth.
In simpler words, post-truth refers to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts.
And claims like the one Donald Trump made just before elections spread like wildfire on social media which make us conveniently forget some of the basic facts and concede power to those with wealth, charisma, and more.
If we thought news channels were the ones causing information overload then social media definitely proved us wrong.
In the information age, there is an abundant supply of news online but people on average only spend a limited amount of time with it and many internet users do not even actively seek out online news.
In such a situation, when we log into our Facebook or Twitter accounts, we’re most likely to get confused or completely lost in the storm of news, with repetitive and dubious content. This is where consuming news starts feeling like a chore.
Following a news story
The abundance of news is generated on social media and that too at an accelerated pace which has naturally made the task of following a news story over time extremely difficult.
Can you imagine following the Russia-Ukraine conflict or the 2021 Nagaland civilian killings on social media?
No, of course not.
The string that connects the past events to the present news stories is missing on social media which also weakens the context of the news.
Keeping track of news is tedious enough. Add to it the massive sea of information present on social media platforms and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster!
However, the question is even after knowing all of this, will we still set ourselves up for disappointment, will we still expect social media to work as a news outlet when it was clearly not meant to be used that way?
Well, maybe it’s time to stop asking questions and carve a way out.
Newzera can already see the light on the other side of the tunnel, join us and maybe you will too!