News is social, for better or for worse

March 15, 2017

News is social, for better or for worse

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Practically everyone you know uses social media. Your best friends, coworkers and probably even your grandma. In fact, 81 percent of the entire US population has a social network profile. With so many people on social, it is not surprising that social media is now a large source for news information. Take politics, for instance. During the recent Presidential Campaign, stories about Hilary, Trump and other political figures filled everyone’s newsfeeds. Even now, President Trump is still all over social media. NUVI has been tracking his Twitter usage, and he has sent out more than 200 tweets in his first 52 days as President. People are turning to social for news, for better or for worse.

It’s really happening

We’re not joking. Social media is so much more than cat videos and cooking tutorials. Americans who consume news online are just as likely to get their news by going to actual an actual news website (like Fox or CNN) as they are by going to social media. Why? We don’t have the exact answers, but we can make some pretty good guesses. With social media, news becomes interactive. People can share news articles and include their own two-cents on the topic, making news more enjoyable for those with a lot of opinions (a.k.a. pretty much everyone on Facebook). 

Another probable reason for the rise of news on social media is convenience. People are always on social media. Don’t believe us? Check out this infographic displaying the average amount of time people spend on social:

Social media usage infographic

With this much social media activity, it makes sense to include news in the mix of posts. Whatever the reason may be, people are using social media as a news source more and more.

Social media for news can be good

Sometimes social media is great for news. Let’s make up an example to explain. Say there is a giant flood in your area. By searching the flood on Twitter, you will find updates from other people impacted by the flood and news updates from various different news accounts all in real-time. A real life example of how social media can be good for news sharing is the New York Blizzard that is set to hit this week, which is predicted to be the biggest Northeastern storm this winter. Google’s Public Alerts is using social media information to help accumulate content for their alerts about the upcoming storm. Google Public Alerts New York Blizzard Alert

Social media helps news organizations find information for stories, and it also keeps them honest and on their toes. Because so many different people can post information, news organizations need to be on top of their information. If their news regarding a weather condition differs from the posts of people actually impacted by the weather, their credibility decreases. According to dailymail.com, social media is now more accurate than traditional forecasting methods. Social media allows everyone to contribute to news information, giving more accurate information as it’s happening.

Social media for news can be bad

biggest Facebook fake news stories

Facebook has been under fire recently for spreading fake news. Fake news is a problem everywhere, not just on social media; but with so many users and such an easy sharing platform, Facebook and other social media sites spread fake news like wildfire. Why is this so bad? Well, because social media posts are so easy to share, stopping a fake story before it reaches too many people is nearly impossible. Not to mention it leaves millions of social media users misinformed about various different news topics. Facebook is currently working on a solution to make social media consumers aware of what news stories may be fake. 

Good and bad included, social media is continuously rising to become a main source of news. What do you think? Is the rise of social media as a news source a good or bad thing? Let us know.

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