Social Media as a Current Events News Platform
What comes to mind when you hear the words “Social Movement”? My thoughts drift towards distinguished organized gatherings such as the Black Lives Matter, LGBT Pride, and Women’s Rights. But, after attending my first Social Movements and Social Media course at the UC Berkeley — Haas School of Business, I realize that my perception of social movements is bounded by what I read and hear about in the media on day-to-day bases. The types of media that I am exposed to as a 20-year-old woman are social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. I personally believe that these media platforms can be used in ways outside of communication and displays of personal life. For example, when I surf through my News Feed on Facebook, the first posts to appear are those that have the most interaction, whether that be likes, comments, or shares. These stories tend to link straight from major newscasters such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or CNN. Five to ten years ago, members of the baby boomer generation would strongly disapprove of the use of social media as a form of capturing news, but I believe that times have changed and the approval ratings for social media among adults 45 years and older have increased drastically.
I recently read an article where the author, Andrew Perrin, confirms the statistic that the use of social media among adults has increased almost ten times over since 2005 until now. Here are my thoughts on the reason for this sizable jump in users: I believe social media is now working to be more specifically targeted towards the user’s personal interests. If the user is interested in current political events, for example, they can choose to “follow” a variety of individuals, companies, or newscasters that talk about politics and this way, they can go to one distinctive website to be exposed to multiple sources, rather than having to scroll through numerous fountains of information to find the news they are after. This process inherently allows for a speedier and more productive method to becoming socially aware and well-versed on the worldly news. This is a huge advantage in today’s world as generations continue to pile on work and take on tasks far past their personal time capacities (or as people become lazier in their endeavors, but this is a completely different issue to be addressed at a later time).
Perrin, Andrew. “Social Media Usage: 2005–2015.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, October 8, 2015. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/