Think of the most recent newsworthy events. How did you find out about them? Was it through shows like CNN or Fox News or maybe you just went to social media and read about them on Twitter or Facebook? “When college students are asked where they get their information, most cite social media as the first place they go to find out what is happening” (Gottfried & Shearer, 2016). Social media is taking over the world as the main source of information for younger generations. According to Pew Research Center, about half of U.S. adults get their news from social media.
Social media allows users to curate their content to match their specific interests and views. If you look at more liberal content, you will continue to be exposed to liberal content. All of the news that social media recommends is tailored specifically to you. In the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, viewers get an inside look into how polarizing news can be when found through social media channels.
While social media can be polarizing, the news we get from face-to-face contact can have the same effect. Many of us engage with like-minded individuals who share our views. This hinders our news consumption and restricts the information we are being exposed to.
Considering my news consumption, I stick to social media, although I may hear about things from face-to-face contact. One of the most dramatic news events recently happened on January 6 when the Capitol building was stormed. I remember sitting in my room and hearing my boyfriend ask me if I saw what was happening. Rather than asking him for more information, I immediately took to social media to find out what people were saying about the situation.
One upside to getting information from social media comes from being able to follow multiple mainstream news sources on one platform. Twitter gives me updates from an array of news sites allowing me to see a colorful exchange of information. As the world is becoming more technologically dependant, we will continue to see the exchange of news on social media. As long as we expose ourselves to multiple platforms, we can be informed and enlightened rather than polarized and misguided.