Hashtag News

As social media progresses, we find that it is slowly trumping more traditional methods of receiving news, communicating, shopping, etc. Smartphones are so much more than phones, and often times they become a one-stop-shop for all things social. Twenty-one year old Jesse Samdahl admits that he has given up hope on traditional news outlets and instead recieves his news from Twitter, all the while still communicating with his friends. Though it may not be such a wholesome, well rounded news report, the convenience factor makes it superior. Why have multiple apps when the same tasks can be completed with one?

As teens and young adults sway more toward the use of social media to obtain their news, one must wonder whether the news they are recieving is simply perpetuating a biased viewpoint that the individual already may hold. Typically, people are going to communicate and associate themselves with similar viewpoints on social media. This could exemplify confirmation bias in that people are only recieving news that already coincides with their beliefs. Without adressing opposing opinions, individuals cannot make an informed decision, and will carry their biased opinions with them into traditional social environements. Nick Szatkowski, a senior at Unity College reports that he uses strictly his phone to recieve news. His ability to choose what news he views is his reason for being so adamant. Rather than weeding through the “pointless” news stories that take up time on traditional news outlets, Nick is able to quickly read key topics and pick and choose what he recieves. This then, becomes a matter of how we comprehend our news and what we do with the information we recieve.

To exasperate the situation, news consumption via social media is a voluntary effort. People only see what they research and decide to type into their search engine. This could be beneficial of course, as an avid news consumer may be able to peruse topics not televised in their area. On the same hand, this does not present the consumer with all potential news pieces. Traditional televised news covers a variety of topics, covering school to government. If these stories aren’t covered by default, the chances of people recieving the same widespread news coverage becomes a matter of effort.

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