Dearborn, Kyle R.
Observing my own social media habits; well to be honest, my first observation is that I have a twisted sense of humor sometimes. Memes are a very popular way to throw an idea out on social media in a humorous way. Sometimes it is funny just to see the reactions.
Seriously though; I have found in the last year that I have moved away from Network news to the quick headlines of social media, mainly through Facebook. Facebook is probably 95% of my social media usage. I find that I can find most news stories through facebook news pages. This allows me to quickly scroll over many stories to find ones that interest me enough to read further.
With most big stories breaking first through social media, I find this is an effective tool and source when compared to the large cable news networks that often just stay on one story for hours and seldom get involved. Recently I discovered live streaming through YouTube and facebook which gets one closer to the ground level of a breaking story. This helps one see firsthand what is going on though does not “give” you any news details. It is helpful but one must also be very careful at what you are watching or recording. The first night of the Charlotte riots, for example, several people filmed the looting of the back of a truck and burning its contents. This does not help to send a message and can create exactly the opposite affect that the filmer was going for.
Again, being honest, most of my news timeline (perhaps 75%) comes from more conservative news sources. It is easy to be flooded with pages that follow one’s own beliefs. Once a page is liked or clicked on, many more seem to follow. I try to offset this by finding opposing sources and liking those pages or just by searching for more information on anything that sounds a little too one=sided. It is a trap in social media that I am often guilty of falling for.
Most recently I have opened up to Twitter. I did this mainly to follow big events and to see what people are saying in real time. I look to see if people are thinking the same things I am or if they have a different opinion than I do. Unfortunately the internet seems full of people who debate with profanity and accusations rather than facts.
The presidential election has been a very educating event to follow. The vast majority of comments I find online while following the debates, for example, are people who have already made up their mind and are commenting only to insult or to instigate a “facebook fight”. It is disappointing to see that conversation has degraded to the point of hate through a quick line of text on the internet where people remain anonymous.