Social media: The key of accessibility to free news

‘Did you hear it? Your favourite soccer team has just signed a big star today. They have paid over $A 3,000,000 for him’asked my mum.’Of course I did, I read it on Facebook’ I replied. You have probably heard this often. People are using social media more and more to check the latest news instead of reading the hard copy of the daily news or visiting different online newspapers to get update with what is happening around the world. Social media gives us free access to news, but can we trust of everything we read on social media?

Today I woked up to this news on CNN:

 

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Screenshot from my computer. Source: CNN Facebook.

My first thought was: ‘Oh no, how could she do this to her own daugther!?’ Then I thought about how easily accessible it was to read the news online. Everytime I read the news, I received it from social media. Sometimes I read the news online, but what about in hard copy?…I can not remember the last time I read the news in a newspaper. What about you? Where do you read the news from?

‘… 49% of U.S. adults reported seeing news on social media’ (PewResearchCentre 2016). 

49 percent of the U.S. population receive the news from social media, but it is only from pages they have liked? Do you only read news from pages you have liked?

‘Just 34% of Facebook news consumers “like” a news organization or individual journalist, which suggests that the news they see there is coming from friends’ (PewResearchCentre 2014)

Maybe this can explain how social media has increased the accessibility of free news? By people sharing and liking different news organisations on social media? I have received a lot of news on social media by people tagging me in different posts:

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One of my friends tagged me on a post from CNN.
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Tagged on news from CNN at Instagram
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Tagged on news from CNN at Instagram

I find it much easier to read news online from social media, because it is free and easily accessible.

‘…two-thirds of them said they wouldn’t be willing to pay for any online content, regardless of quality’ (Digiday 2016).

My first thought is ‘free access to news, nice!’ However, sometimes I ask myself ‘Can I trust all the things people share of news on social media?’ Have you ever thought about this before?

‘Pew also found that the vast majority of people don’t trust what they read on social media. Just 4 percent of internet-using U.S. adults trust social media information “a lot”’ (Recode 2016).

Social media gives the opportunity for more people to receive access to the news online and free. People are sharing and liking different news organisations on social media. Maybe this is the reason today for more and more people, like students reading the news online? What do you think? Should access to the news be free? Can you always trust the news people are publishing and sharing on social media?

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Can internet media harm us?

‘Do you want to look like this?  With this protein shake you will increase your muscle weight by 4 kg in 3 weeks.’ There are a lot of benefits associated with internet media, but does all of the information on internet media, for example on social media, have a positive impact on us? Sometimes we come into contact with commercials like these on the internet, but how do these types of commercials affect you?

‘Do I look good? Do I have to exercise more and become one of the biggest guy/skinniest girl at school? Get a body like a model?’ Have you ever been thinking like this before and feel pressure to become the best? Internet media can pressure users through the body images it displays. How many times have you seen people posting body images using Facebook and Instagram? Moreover, how does this influence you?

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My own body image on Instagram.

 

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A body image published on Instagram by the Canadian PT and model Carina Chirila.

 

‘…pressures can take a toll on someone with a predisposition to emotional and behavioral conditions such as depression or an eating disorder. Social pressure may also have a negative impact on someone who never struggled before with body image or eating issues’ Eating Disorder Hope (2010).

‘Body image ideals in the media have increased teenagers’ desire for plastic surgery’ Raisingchildren.net.au (2015)

Three months ago, I became sick. I had never struggled before with my confidence and how my body looked. I woke up with a severe headache and I was really dizzy. I went to my doctor and he told me ‘You have worked out too much, you have to relax’. Do you know why I trained so much? I was influenced by all the pressure of body images on internet media…

But… is the pressure of body image the only dissadvantage of internet media?

Being online becomes our social life

How much time do you spend on your computer, playing games or chatting with your friends on social media? I find myself more satisfied when spending my time with friends outdoors, like joining them on sporting events or just relaxing at a bar and having some few beers.

What about the people who spend more time on the computer? According to “Influence Guide”, some people spend more time on internet media than being social. Do you think this is an issue for the community?  It could be. What about the children? There is also information out there that can have a bad influence which is avaible for everyone:

 

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Pinterest.com

‘We utilise the internet to conduct research, communicate with friends, manage businesses and network with like-minded individuals. Therefore it should be to no one’s surprise that the violent extremist utilise the internet in much the same manner’ The Point Magazine (2013).

I think we all have to consider our use of internet media, but did you ever think about the possibility that some people could be more affected by it than others? Should access be limited, for example in the form of age limit? What do you think?

 

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Internet Media: What is the benefits?

 

Imagine it is Monday morning. You lie in your bed and wonder about what is new today? What has happened since yesterday? You are too tired to get up from your bed and get the newspaper outside your door. This may be a “problem” in 1980, but thanks to the internet and the media, it is so simple today in 2016 to just lie in your bed and pick up your smartphone instead. A great advantage for everyone who is struggling to get up in the morning, but what other advantages are there with the internet and the media?

News in internet vs newspaper

What do you prefer? Newspaper or online news? The blog of “Online journalism” list up 9 socio-technical advantages of online news:

‘Past studies in this field have shown that there are 9 socio-technical advantages that have determined the adoption and use of online news:

  • no costs
  • mult-itasking
  • more news choices
  • in-depth and background information
  • 24/7 updates
  • customization
  • ability to discuss the news with peers
  • the existence of different viewpoints
  • the opportunity to talk back to the media’

What do the students prefer?

For us students, the news online seems to be preferred. With all the studies and part-time job aside, we do not have a lot of time.

“I liked the online version because it was faster to navigate through different stories and it was more enjoyable to read because it was more flashy I guess”

“The online version is easier to navigate, faster and more eco-friendly! I will absolutely choose the e version over the print version. I also don’t like the way the paper on the print version makes my hands feel. It feels dirty. However, I will miss the smell of the paper because it smells really nice”

This statements are published at JEADigitalMedia.org, where a teacher had asked her students if they prefer newspaper or online news. It seems like students prefer online news, as it is faster and easier to navigate.

Environment and globalisation

Some of us argue for newspaper. With a newspaper, you do not get the distraction of everything else. It is easier when you read the online news to just check your Facebook, buy clothes from online store etc. But what about the environment? The online news saves the environment for a lot of damage like pollution, but there are also other benefits. If something happens in Europe right now, we could with a simple click check the news and get updated. The internet media makes it easier to keep updated from what happens in the rest of the world 24/7. For those who read newspaper, you probably have to wait the next day for the news. The link below shows a video of the benefits with online news.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTOrlJBVslM

Imagine yourself again, you wake up Monday morning. With a smartphone, you have access to all news in the world. Are you for or against online news? Do you prefer to have access to the news 24/7 or just read the news in the morning with the breakfast table? Is online news one way of saving the environment and reduce the pollution of transporting newspapers around the country? What do you think?

 

– René R. Bracci

 

 

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