Social media has changed the way we look at news. News gets to us faster than ever before and it comes at us from all sides. However, while most things reported on the news on television or in newspapers is checked for facts, Twitter accounts and gossip blogs tend to publish rumors before they are confirmed. As a result, many of us end up spreading gossip and relying on fictional information that has nothing to support it.
Twitter is used for its ability to relay information quickly and concisely. Gossip websites and gossip blogs are known for just that—gossip. Newspapers and network news TV shows rely on accuracy when they are reporting. This discrepancy must be kept in mind when searching for news. Twitter is great for getting ideas across quickly. Gossip blogs are a fun way to hear about what’s going on in the world of pop culture, and make for good water-cooler chat. However for tried and true news and facts, whatever is read on these types of websites should be taken with a grain of salt.
When Michael Jackson passed away last week, Twitter and gossip blogs got the news out just as quickly as the television stations did (maybe even more quickly), but when it comes to rumors about Michael Jackson’s life and death, we should keep in mind that speculation on gossip sites or Twitter accounts is just speculation. It is this sort of speculation that can end up leading to hurtful rumors or misinformation. Speculation is fine if it is kept at speculation. Rumors become rumors when they are confused with the truth. It is this type of misinformation that led many people to believe that Miley Cyrus had passed away last year, or that led to nationwide panic during “The War of the Worlds.”
We here at Promoting Group encourage all forms of social media and of discussing current events. However we encourage everyone to also check their facts and to not promote rumors. Take everything you read on Twitter or gossip blogs with a grain of salt, and be an informed citizen.