Using Social Media to Tell People What Really Happened
Everyone has heard the saying, “You can’t have too much news.” It’s true, even with the 24-hour news channel it’s impossible to keep up with everything going on, especially if you’re like most people and your job and family involve a lot of travelling. Many people would agree that they just don’t have the time to catch up with every last bit of news, and so they turn to television or radio for whatever they’re interested in. But what does this have to do with business? Let’s take a look.
News is essentially a human interest story. Examples of popular news include stories about newscasters, natural disasters, political conflicts, crime, and big events (e.g. major sports events). A large number of news-related stories are based upon a single event that grabs the public’s attention, whether it’s a sporting event, a newscast, or even a viral internet video. Examples of news include man bites woman, missing person, child molesters, first runner in Olympics, man with knife attack, and so on.
Fake news stories are spreading across the internet faster than anything that could be controlled by the major media. Fake news is an intentional attempt to influence the public through non-traditional means, such as the internet, print, TV, and radio, which are commonly relied on by a wide number of individuals. As society becomes increasingly reliant on alternative sources of information, there is a greater likelihood for sources of false information to appear and propagate throughout various communities. For instance, it’s not uncommon to find stories that suggest the government is hiding something or is planning to shut down. As news continues to spread through social media channels, the amount of false information that’s floating around increases.
So how does one distinguish between real news and fake news? The golden rule of news reporting is to find out if what you’re reading is truly newsworthy information. False information has been shown to lead to misleading and misinforming readers, which only serves to give birth to more false stories and rumors. To be useful, a news article should provide enough factual information to make anyone who reads it thinks about the matter in question. If the information isn’t new, news articles should contain references that lead back to reliable sources. Inverted pyramid style pyramid information is a common method of disseminating false news and can be seen throughout many news articles.
A large number of individuals are lazy enough to spend time reading through dozens of web pages, articles, and blog posts. A large number of individuals would rather stay glued to their computer, watching a television show, or listening to music instead of picking up a piece of paper and reading a news article. Social media literacy cannot happen without learning how to discern between false information and real news. For those who don’t feel comfortable reading through a large number of texts, newsreading software, like the Newsblur editor, is available.
The key to social media communication is knowing when to express yourself and when to turn off the microphone. Sometimes people are passionate about a particular topic and will post opinions that can be considered controversial. Be careful with controversial opinions; some people may consider them to be “fake news.” News article writing should be entertaining and informative at the same time, because a news story should entertain as well as inform its audience. When using news articles, it’s important to remember that a small misstep can drastically change the direction of the news story and impact people’s lives.