Are Social Media Platforms a Reliable Source for Consuming Information?

by IS_Indust
Social Media Platforms

Social Media Platforms a Reliable Source for Consuming Information

Technology, science, and digitalization have completely changed the way we consume news or even information today. Looking around ourselves, we are constantly surrounded by information in different forms. Digitalization and businesses have found a way to make their audience consume information through different mediums with more innovative means. However, digitalization and the rise of social media made it much easier for us to consume information.

Traditionally the way we consumed information was through books, newspapers, radio, television, or word of mouth. Being the only source of information, traditional media were considered the most reliable source for consuming information.

Social media slowly evolved and began to deliver information to users. It was not a one-day process that made social media a place to consume information. Today, the reliability of consuming information on social media platforms is questioned by many users around the world. Though it is quite hard to figure out if social media is a reliable source to consume information or not? Let us briefly point out a few pros and cons of social media regarding the consumption of information and then decide it for ourselves.

A gateway to new and innovative ideas

There is no hiding the fact that social media has changed the life of many people across the world. The ease that it provides in assessing the information is simply remarkable. Social media is so flexible that it provides information in almost all types. Over the years, social media has boosted many businesses and promoted artists to facilitate their creativity and artform online through social media.

According to PatientsLikeMe, around 11% of the total American population uses social media for new health information. This shows the flexibility that social media provides for new ideas. Apart from that, it has always been a way to meet new people and stay connected with them all the time. For more than 40% of the people who rely upon social media for political news find new ideas and perceptions regarding trending political topics.

Quickness and the immortality of information

Did you know that Twitter was the first platform that broke the news of the Tsunami and earthquake in Japan in 2008? Well, this defines the credibility and quickness of social media if used properly. Being a medium where there is no barrier to conveying the information, social media gives you the liberty to access information in different forms at any given moment.

Videos, text, audio, motion graphics, GIF, etc., social media makes consumption and sharing of information easy and convenient. This quick rise in the use of social media gave rise to ‘mobile journalism,’ a way to practice journalism with mobile and share the news and information via social media platforms or the internet.

Apart from that, the information on social media stays there forever. Unless the user or the platform decides to remove it from the system. Social media is like a library and even archives for all sorts of information that is once uploaded there.

Along with that, social media provides external hyperlinks that make it easier for the user to access additional information. Today many photographers and artists use it to dump their photographs and artwork, as it not only stores it but also puts it up for display to the world.

Misleading facts and fake news

Quickness often affects the credibility of the information. Many people across the world are a victim of misleading facts that keeps on circulating on social media. One of the most misleading facts is regarding the quotes which, according to that post, are said by famous personalities. Whereas the person in real life never said it. This is not entirely true as such quotes are not published by credible sources.

To trust or not to trust the social media platforms entirely depends on the post and reliability of the source of information. With the rise of social media, the rise of fake news or incorrect information also increased. According to Pew Research Survey Centre, more than 50% of America consumes news through social media platforms.

Fake news and incorrect information are like gossips that are not to be believed unless it is cross-checked. Also, social media being a place where the information is overloaded helps the fake information spread quickly.

Are you in control of the information you consume through Social Media?

If you use social media platforms, then ask yourself this question, ‘are you in control of the information you consume on social media?’ One might strongly argue about it, saying yes, as social media gives you the control of whom to follow and what kind of content you want to see. Indeed, we who use social media are not in control of the information we consume through it.

It is the algorithm that decides what content to show us, depending on our activities on social media.

Basically, social media provides you content that you like and what you mostly relate with. Along with that, social media is about connecting and the time spent on other’s content makes us vividly consume information that we might not even require.

In short, along with your business marketing companies, your followers and following, and the social media algorithm are in control of the information you consume through social media platforms. This is not a credible way to consume information if you are not completely in control.

Having said that, above are the pros and cons of the consumption of information on social media. It is now completely up to us how we consume information through social media. Social media’s main motive is connectivity, and it has done that wonderfully over the years.

Now, as it is becoming a major source of information for many, make sure your trust information only from reliable sources and not blindly trust that pops up on your social media feed. As for the reliability of the consumption of information through social media platforms, it completely depends on the source and the platform. Along with you being a conscious user.

­-Ashlesh Khadse

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