Social media has taken the world by a storm. I admit it, there are times when, I first check my social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) before reading the stories online. Often times, I glance at the headlines, choosing to skim the story. Sometimes the stories themselves are so atrocious, I can’t imagine them being real.
Now it’s possible to get the news, even before it becomes the news. It’s a bit more personal now. Terror attacks are no longer happening to unknown people across the globe; they’re happening to real people. Real people who use the internet. People who rely on social media to tell their stories, even if the news channels do not. There was a time, when these people had no names, but that time is long past us. However, news spreads extremely quickly online.
Social media is used to broadcast and inform people (family, friends etc) about any crisis through tweets, statuses and live feeds. It is during these times, when we (as a society) accept the statements upfront. In a way, it may be beneficial for us to receive news online, because thanks to citizen journalism it is posted immediately during and/or after a crisis.
When a wildfire ravaged Fort McMurray in 2016, updates from my friends, friends of friends, families etc flooded my news feeds. Social media allows people to connect with friends and families straight away. It proves to be a much faster method, since we are always glued to our phones.
Traditional news coverage gave me facts about the fire, whereas social media gave me an insight to the lives of the people affected by it. In this manner, both methods of media coverage balance each other out.