Look further than Facebook for news

By K.J. Gandhi, Columnist

gandhikj_cutoutFacebook has the ability to bring people together from all over the world and to broadcast breaking news events almost instantaneously.

Social media is a news source now; it’s a place where whole new perceptions of current events are gained and lost. What doesn’t help with this are the algorithms that essentially sort out what you like by how popular the post was, interest in that page and the recency of the post.

This isn’t completely new: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other major sources of social media have been doing this for almost a decade. Why the relevance now? We live in a politically driven world, and in these past few weeks postelection, liberals have been looking for scapegoats to blame for Donald Trump being elected president.

But the biggest issue with this personalized newsfeed is that a lot of people have become misinformed about the world around them. Just last week, the issue of fake news articles was trending. Facebook just so happened to be the home for most of this fake news, which misinformed thousands of people because of how real looking the articles were.

So that begs the question: Is the website that is supposed to connect the world really driving us apart?

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    We’re on our phones throughout the entire day, even when we’re eating dinner with our friends, and we seem to be more absorbed by the 5-to-10-second videos posted on Instagram than the conversations going on around us. Our viewpoints are influenced by the stuff we like on Twitter and Facebook, giving us a one-dimensional perspective of many important topics.

    I spend less than 5 seconds looking at each post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and most of the content is shaped to what I want to see just because of mindless clicking. There are certain posts where I spend a significant amount of time just because it truly sparks an interest of mine, but those are still heavily influenced by what I’ve liked in the past.

    Social media is still great at connecting different cultures together — you can communicate with different people from all over the world and get a glimpse of how people live their lives in Europe, Africa, Asia, etc.

    It just isn’t great at mass-communicating ideas, particularly ones designed for a specific audience, especially if the content doesn’t provide proper insight to the opposing viewpoints.

    We need to do a better job of disconnecting ourselves from social media; this is something our generation has a difficult time of doing.

    It’s a lot easier to see different viewpoints and learn more about current events by actually talking to people and seeing what they agree with.

    K.J. is a freshman in DGS.

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