Everything on Social Media is Not Real?
While it is becoming trendy for millennials to gather news primarily from cell phone devices, news outlets are adapting to remain relevant. By integrating into social media platforms, news outlets/organizations are more accessible. With teenagers spending
- “90 % of Millennials are using smartphones, 93% are accessing the internet, and 53% own tablets.”
- “More than 60% of U.S. 13 to 34-year-old smartphone users are Snapchatters”
- “27% of Millennials use Facebook less than once a week, and 11 % don’t even have an account”
- “..59% of o9-16-year-olds active on social networking sites, 52% of them connected 24/7 via mobile phone or handheld device..“
Clearly, being engaged is constantly at hand within the community of smartphone users. Social media plays a vital role in how we consume news now due to its instantaneous platform for information.
Is Social Media Newsworthy?
In examining the instance of Osama bin Laden being slain, it is said that Twitter first broke the news, not CNN or the New York Times.
“Before CNN or The New York Times confirmed that U.S. Navy SEALS did, in fact, kill Osama bin Laden, millions had already taken to their Twitter and Facebook pages to virally disperse the information.”
“If it wasn’t enough for the news to spread almost immediately via social media, one man caught his own 15 minutes of fame as he accidentally tweeted the raid as it occurred, not far from his home in Pakistan. Without realizing it, Sohaib Athar tweeted away about the pesky helicopters he heard overhead at 1:00a.m., which turned out to be U.S. forces descending upon bin Laden’s compound.”
Sounds like news right?
So how does this tie into moral Panic?
How can someone validate the Tweets that were being sent out to confirm that in fact, it was the Navy SEALS ascending from helicopters in pursuit of Osama bin Laden? How can an initial tweet that shows bin Laden slain be taken as factual? In my opinion, it doesn’t have to be. In the world of social media, validity is assumed from popularity. The more people that agree with the certain topic/issue/ interest piece, the validation is confirmed by the previous naysayer, and you potentially validate it for the next. If the majority of people are using social media profiles, certainly it is expected that various news pieces would come across their news feed. So how can misinformation lead to moral panic? Let’s put this in theory.
So how can misinformation lead to moral panic? Let’s put this in theory.
Let’s put this in theory.
Step 1: Login to X (social media site)
Step 2: Scroll down news feed
Step 3: Read an article stating X (phenomenon that you fear)
Step 4: Share/Continuation of the information being spread through you
Step 5: Someone else reads the post, your status, tweet
Step 6: Recycle & repeat
By no means am I stating that this is the definite way social media spews out moral panic, but certainly people are more expressive through keyboards & smartphones.