Monday, November 14, 2016

Twitter too public?

Megan Sawyer


Social media has become such a huge part of today's society. So huge that anyone can find or post any information they want to at any time of the day no matter where they are in the world. This can bring consequences not just to journalists who report on news, but also to regular people who send out a tweet.


In today's media, it's so easy for any information to be put out on the internet where millions of people can see it, regardless if it's true or not. It doesn't even matter if you have only a small number of followers. Tweets can get retweeted by one person, and that can create a chain of retweets. Before you know it, thousands of people have seen and retweeted it, too. This can create problems for journalists who are trying to get information out their quickly. If a random person on Twitter finds out some big information and posts it before anyone else, there really isn't a point in big publications reporting on it after it's already out there. They would rather be the first. But, even though they might not be the first to put out the information, it's still a good thing for them to verify the information. So many more people trust major, credible news sources rather than a random person they've never heard of. So, it's important that the major news sources get the truth out there, regardless of who posts the information first.


With how easy it is for people to send out a tweet, it is just as easy for that tweet to be seen by so many people. There is the question if whether or not journalists should ask the writer of a post permission to repost what they have written. It is a fine line, but sites like Twitter are public and unless your tweets are protected, then it is possible for anyone to see the tweets and send them off. That's why those with social media accounts need to be prepared for anything to happen. If you're willing to send out information, then you should be willing to deal with what may happen as a result of that. It is a journalist's job though, to find out if this source is good and what they are posting is the truth. Also, they should be mindful of the information they are putting out, and think about how it might affect certain members of their audience. It is important that they don't touch too much on subjects that are really sensitive to a majority of their readers, such as sexual assault.

Social media has many other complicated aspects to it other than the two above, but these are two that everyone should be aware of. Anyone can send out news, whether it's completely false or completely true. Twitter users who are just normal people have to be aware of the fact that their small tweet can get really far out there and bring attention upon themselves. And journalists have to be ready to find out the truth about what is written.

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