Editorial: Take care when sharing on social media

Sharing is caring.

It’s a common phrase most children learn in preschool and kindergarten. But it’s something that’s taken on a completely new meaning in a digital age.

Sharing, the basis of social networking, is how we stay connected with both friends and the world itself.

Our generation is constantly being bombarded with more information as we expand our reach online. But it is necessary to be wary of the news we receive.

From United States politics to worldwide terror attacks, the use of social media is critical to staying informed. But, our dependence on these platforms has led to frequent circulation of false information in the early stages of evolving stories.

This is particularly important in how people respond online in the days following terror attacks. Breaking news is constantly updated with new information, but few seem to pay attention to the changing details after particularly emotional incidents.

It happened after attacks in Paris, Brussels, Ankara, Lahore and Beirut, and it is bound to happen again. MG

Friends on our Facebook timelines and Twitter feeds share articles about issues the media isn’t covering, such as certain terror attacks that aren’t happening in the West. After the attacks in Paris and Brussels, many people claimed that attacks orchestrated by Boko Haram MGin Nigeria were proof of problems in non-western countries not being covered.

Many claimed these attacks in Nigeria had in fact occurred the very same day as those in Paris; however, a quick look at the dateline showed these attacks occurred much earlier, in April.

In the rush to share opinions on social media, many forget to verify the information being used to support their points. While this occurs perhaps most frequently after terror attacks, many members of the millennial generation jump to conclusions about other emotional topics.

Passionate posters flood social media with claims of misconduct or dishonesty after seemingly every interaction between candidates in the presidential election. It’s easy and comfortable for people to read only those articles and columns that support their own opinions.

But it would be wise to educate ourselves about opposing viewpoints before making bold proclamations on social media. When sharing with friends and followers on social media, our generation should focus on making the most educated arguments possible.

With all the information at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to be aware of every side of an issue. Sharing is still caring, but use caution.