Everyone is a Journalist with Social Media

The recent tragedy in Boston has stirred up a lot of conversation over the past few weeks. As I was driving home last week, NPR brought up an interesting topic on its radio show, “All Things Considered.” The discussion was based around the fact that we now use Twitter as a breaking news source, which got me thinking…

Twitter was jammed with minute to minute updates, from snippets of conversation about the driving reasons for the unthinkable attack to information that Bob heard from Mary in the office. Twitter users were certainly staying informed, but were they receiving accurate information?

That part is debatable. If I was a betting kind of gal, I’d say that most tweets that went out that day and in the days following weren’t fact checked or confirmed; they were sent out as quickly as the information was received, leading to a lot of misinformation.

More and more users are turning to social media as a breaking news source. How do we know that the information we receive through Twitter or Facebook is correct? We don’t. How do we know that information received through traditional media is correct? We don’t. However, we can safely assume they will try to be as accurate as possible to maintain their credibility. Social media has, in the past few years, allowed everyone to act as a journalist to report on the latest breaking news. As for me, I think I’ll leave it to the professionals.