Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media as a News Channel
Social media is a vessel of information for everybody. It is updated everyday with new data from regular users who drop in to share news they’ve heard, events they’ve experienced and, most especially, scoops on the latest hot topics. Users passionate about social media strive to keep up to date with every little detail that happens on the web and in real life. When people do not log in every now and then, they suffer information overload when they access their accounts. They find that they cannot easily understand the issues and concerns they encounter in the social network they belong to.
When you want to bring news to social media, all you have to do is type your message and click ‘Post’ or ‘Share.’ That’s it. No need to submit to anybody else for proofreading, fact-checking and stylistic corrections. What you want to impart is communicated immediately. There’s no waiting time to stress about. With one click, you can inform the whole world your news. One example is when Frederic Dupoux tweeted about the earthquake Haiti experienced last 2010. As soon as his tweet came out to cyberspace, everyone was alerted, news groups strove to come to Haiti and charity organizations started sending help packages.
With the advent of social media, anybody can report on any event, whether it’s about the groundbreaking of a local community building or a speech given by an important government official. Since you have social access to thousands, even millions, of minds you can send pictures and posts about the latest updates on issues relevant to your locality. Even if you’re a teenager who witnessed an accident in the highway, you can post pictures and information about the event in the web. All you need is a good camera and fast internet access.
Social networks, however, are not optimized to provide factual news accounts. There’s minimum space for reporters to fully give accounts of what really happened. Twitter, the most popular avenue for spreading online news, has only 140 characters for users to say their piece. In addition, finding out what really happened can be hard to do as journalistic integrity can be compromised. There are some users who choose only what they want to report and leave out details that may shed a different light on the case. This can make news accounts on social media sites inaccurate, so it’s important to verify whether the news is true before you share what you find.
Sometimes, amateur reporters place themselves in danger when they strive to get pictures for documentation that will back up their story. One example is when people get close to tornadoes for footage to sell to TV news networks and other organizations. This happened in Solomon, Kansas when emergency responders tried to warn off passersby who won’t get off the road and stop filming the tornado. Although no one got injured, these people could have gotten hurt or turned up dead if they got too close to the buffeting winds.