Social Media on the Rise; What does it mean for us?

From one of the first newspapers published in England, Journalism and the media has come a long way.

From one of the first newspapers published in England, Journalism and the media has come a long way.

A recent poll by statisticbrain.com indicated that 1.4 Billion people use Facebook world wide. A similar poll by the same website declared that the total number of unique visitors to Twitter each month exceeds 190 Million. Those numbers are staggering. But what does it mean for your everyday person, and more specifically, what does it mean for aspiring journalists?

Claudia Comacchio, a current journalism student aspiring to a career at National Geographic, expressed her concerns with the sheer amount of information currently being shared online.

I think that because we are bombarded with information, its hard to single out what is true and accurate, and what is worth reading. I find when I go online or open a newspaper there are so many stories, and so much is going on that I only bother opening articles that really interest me.” 

She goes on to express her concern that important stories such as the disappearance of the Malaysian plane over the Indian Ocean are followed for a time, but quickly fall below the radar as new stories emerge. She fears that with the fast pace of the world and social media, we are losing sight of the stories that are important.

Angus Collocott, an aspiring Film Critic, echoes her sentiments. In addition, he fears for the future of journalism as a craft,”The less seriously we take journalism the less serious it will be produced. There will be more a focus on sensationalism and getting a story out there before it has been properly researched. “

Indeed, their opinions are not isolated ones. Sam Johnson, who wishes to become a screenwriter/director, also has concerns for the integrity of journalism. “Anyone with a laptop can be a writer so distinguishing reputable news from an uneducated opinion is hard these days.” She says, “I don’t think people are educated on issues before they give their opinions, they follow the mob and whatever they hear from the media becomes their opinion.”

Many share this fear of media effects, that what society sees, hears and watches online shapes and changes their opinion. This fact is largely undisputed, only the degree to which the media effects society being under question.

The changes are by no means all bad however, as Jayden Perry believes. Aspiring to a career in online game critic, this new type of journalism presents a unique opportunity for him. He worries, however, that those still defending the old ways are hindering progress in new areas.

“New media means that traditional media practices are changing, but not everyone is embracing them so there can be a bit of a mish-mash situation arising. It also means exciting new areas such as comic journalism are greatly hindered by more traditional people blocking it from mainstream media.”

The plethora of citizen-journalists, unedited and published without being fact checked, are influencing what we believe and how we see the world. Often, this simply means we receive news and information first hand, from those actually experiencing the events. Other times, what is portrayed as truth is hearsay, incorrect and potentially damaging to the people involved. This is not a one-sided issue, and as journalism and the media continues to change an evolve, we will all have to adjust with it.

 

 

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