GenSocial - News and Social Media

In the fall of 2013, Facebook made a bold move. They decided to bring news stories directly to their website. When logging in, users would automatically see trending news stories and choose to click on articles they found most interesting. By integrating the news on their site, Facebook dramatically changed the landscape of how people find news online.

While integrating news into social media is convenient, there are a few downsides. For one, clickbait often becomes the most popular. “See it to believe it” articles or listsicles take notice over well-crafted pieces of journalism. By bringing trending articles directly to Facebook, some users are now less inclined to seek out the news for themselves. They also may prefer to read stories from entertainment sites instead of real sources of news.

Likewise, people also use Twitter and Reddit to find news stories. Twitter shows trending topics and hashtags, which often correlate to popular news stories. Users can also follow media accounts and journalists directly on the social media site. Regardless of whether it is and a good or bad thing, news and social media now overlap. News on social media is a thing to be embraced.

How should twenty-somethings approach news on social media? With an active, but cautious eye. Here are GenTwenty’s tips to seeking out the best news articles via social media sites.

1. Follow reputable news sources on Facebook and Twitter. These include the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the Atlantic and other credible news organizations. While Cracked and Thought Catalog may be worth visiting, they are not news sites. They are meant for entertainment.

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2. Verify what we read. It can be tempting to take all Reddit posts as truth. However, some users may exaggerate their findings for more up votes in the online forums. It’s best to research most things we read, instead of potentially spreading misinformation to others.

3. Balance entertainment and journalism sites. Buzzfeed has become a popular source of quizzes and lists for Internet users. However, a person’s media diet should include more than Buzzfeed. For every “best of” article or list we read, we should match it with a national or international news article from a source like CNN or the Washington Post.

4. Look for potential biases in the news story. What organization printed it? Who wrote the story? What else do they write about? It’s important to ask these questions while reading the news. We don’t want to blindly accept everything we read, especially if the story comes from an unreliable source.

How do you get your news on social media? What recommendations do you have for GenTwenty readers? Share them with us in the comments.