Hello My Fellow Blog Lovers & Supporters,
It is Officially Spring! So excited to see things starting to bloom, bees a buzzing and everything in a state of rejuvenation and rebirth! I do love this time of the year and all the new found beauty it holds. It is like we are all waking up from our months long slumber – LOVE!
As you all know I work in social media, recently I met with a fellow social media manager and fellow blogger who used to be a journalist and, we got to talking as we generally do, and the topic of the proliferation of FAKE NEWS going around like wildfire since the onslaught of the pandemic rise in social media use, definitely came up. The infamous quote from Marshall McLuhan came flooding back to me during this conversation – “The medium is the message”. This phrase not only brought me back to my Communications Degree days at Brock University many moons ago, it also made me realize that this still is a very relevant phrase today even though it was coined back in the 1970’s when McLuhan was trying to emphasize that the way we say something is more important than the words we actually use to say it. Very interesting and profound revelation for his time.
Fast forward to today, with the onslaught of the internet and more importantly the use of social media and this profound notion has evolved even further – The medium itself has become the message.
No longer do we consume traditional sources of information like newspapers, TV or radio; no, we instead go to the internet, namely social media to get our news. Recognizing how their readers and viewers are consuming information, media outlets themselves have turned to social media to gather and present their own news stories. Those of us who are too busy to read an entire newspaper, I mean let’s face it, most of us are, instead turn to Twitter or Facebook to scan the posts and possible links from major media outlets to get our fill of the days happenings either locally and or globally.
Because we are already there on social media.
In fact, when major news is breaking in the world it is usually Twitter that will break it first. This was the most evident during the most recent Syrian uprisings where citizen journalists were tweeting and posting videos of the rioting and mayhem, giving their last will and testaments to anyone who would hear them even though the country had put a ban on all media coming in and or going out.
So what does all of this mean?
This means that the need to be immediate far outweighs the need to be accurate when presenting the hard news – ie, the unfortunate spreading of FAKE NEWS. We don’t want to wait until a lead or a story is substantiated to break with the next edition of our favorite newspaper, or you know substantiate the accounts and statements of some world leaders who shall remain nameless – (Hint rhymes with RUMP! :P) No, instead we want it now and if you can’t give it to us, we will find the source that will and if you are not it we will leave you behind. This leaves no wiggle room for verifying a source or a story before going to print or on air. As a result, many and I mean MANY false ‘new-stories’ break on social media and get spread like wildfire, causing damage before the truth finally comes out.
This means the ability to connect via the internet has unfortunately replaced many individuals want or need for face to face interaction. This means the avenues in which companies and individuals market themselves is determined by how their target audiences consume information. This means the medium itself has become the message.
Social media is an amazing tool and should be used as just that, a tool to communicate and interact with individuals and or target audiences. Yes, I preach this as a social manager daily – the importance of building those relationships online, but what is just as important is to then take these relationships offline into the real world where true connection occurs.
We as consumers must also shoulder some of the responsibility of this epidemic and do our own due diligence to understand that the information that is being presented and consumed by us for us has been and will be forever altered. That is why HOW we choose to digest and consume information must change along with it. We need to do our own research when a story that we may not understand all of the facets of breaks, so that we know we are getting all sides of the story and not just a sensationalized version to sell papers. Us doing our part as consumers and the producers of news nowadays (hello, did someone say smartphones and citizen reporters) will continuously evolve as technology and the means in which we communicate through it continues to evolve.
Where will this end up? I don’t have those answers, but what I do know, is that I need to update my Facebook status to contemplative while I ponder the possibilities.
Thank you all once again for coming along on this blogging journey with me. Your support and taking the time out of your busy day to read my weekly ramblings does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. But, before I go, I would like to ask you, how do you consume your news? Through social media or from the media outlets themselves?
I can’t wait to hear your answers!
Until we meet again,
Love & Light Always