Thursday, November 19, 2015

Social Media Sharing Outdated Stories

Jillian Kata

After the terrorism attacks in Paris, social media has blown up with worries, opinions, and grief about the occurrence.  Some are posting about the victims and families stories that are shared and remembered.

But as the striking shock settles, and the sadness subsides, news, politics, and religion, have become the center of conversation.  Instead of grief there is now anger. Instead of disregard for issues in the Middle East there are wavering opinions.  And more than ever, there is a wide spread sharing of news revolving around ISIS and Islam.

I have my own strong opinions of the matter, as do others, which is not what I want to discuss today.  Instead I want to analyze the trend of social media response in relation to international world events and tragedy.  I am an avid Facebook user and since the Paris attacks, I’ve seen nothing but news articles shared and political opinions debated concerning nation’s responses to what happened.

I always am someone who encourages every individual to share his or her opinions because I believe we each deserve that freedom.  What has caught my attention most is that people on Facebook are reading and sharing outdated information.  It may be the hype of the attacks that causes people to ignore publishing dates on news stories, or it may be for other reasons, I cannot say for certain.  What I do know, is that the spread of outdated news stories, although they are accurate, are misconstruing individuals' understanding of what is happening in the Middle East, and what effect this is having here in America. 

While this trend that I have noticed may be skewed statistically because most of my Facebook connections are millennials, but because of that, I am all the more surprised and confused by why a generation who grew up on technology as a source of news isn't properly checking their sources.

I know this is a bit generalized, and what I notice on my feed may not be the same as others.  The trend I noticed on my feed was something that had me questioning how our generation interprets and shares news. Besides news, I have seen several stories of all categories that were published months ago but are just now trending.  In a casual sense, it isn't that big of a deal, but when it concerns big news stories, it can have a big impact.

Overall I wonder whether there is something news journalists can do to reinforce what is current and what is outdated. Should dates be capitalized more within the story? Should they be in bigger font, front and center? Is there a moment where it becomes an ethical responsibility for news sources to specify that information is outdated? Or is it in the hands of the public to make sense of information with the vast amounts of information available?

This is something that I have thought very deeply about. I don’t really have an answer for these questions, but I think as news channels adapt to new technologies this reoccurring problem must be solved.

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