Twitter sends a mixed message with news
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
You unlock your iPhone; you slide over to Twitter and you open up the oh-so familiar app. Why do you open it? To see your friend’s tweets, see the newest celebrity Twitter rant, or to read about current events?
If this last option seems out of place, perhaps we should discuss why Twitter is a news source for some, and whether it really should be.
As journalists, we are constantly watching, reading and reporting the news. The way in which we disseminate this news has changed drastically in the last 10 years. As a staff, we utilize Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to spread news in addition to the conventional newspaper and website sources.
But for many, perhaps the way they read about the news on Twitter is inefficient and may even be a misleading way to obtain news. Twitter spreads news through the moments page. A combination of news, sports, entertainment and fun, this section on Twitter encompasses all aspects of news. Unfortunately, many teenagers will only pay attention to the fun page.
Why? The fun page will combine everything: celebrity news, pop culture and trending hashtags. But is this page a good way to read news? An example of the misuse of this page is the McKinney police brutality controversy. The “twittersphere” only saw a small portion of the alleged “police brutality” video which created much backlash. With just one video, taken out of context, the story had already taken a life of its own before any real reporting had been done.
In fact, the officer involved also detained a white female teenager, but this was not in the video. Obviously, if you only watched the 30 second video of the McKinney police officer using force towards an African-American girl that circulated around Twitter, it would be very easy to cry, “racism.”
Teenagers need to be extremely cautious in this world we live in. By using Twitter, and only reading short excerpts from significant events, the way news travels to us can be altered significantly.
Journalists have an important job but with only 140 characters, it becomes that much easier to slant a story. With sources like Twitter, Facebook and other easy-to-access news sites, the opportunity to change a story becomes even more tempting as well as the ability to change a story with one misleading headline. This can only lead us to one conclusion, in this day and age, both journalists and their audiences must be even more cautious.
Teenagers should not draw conclusions from Twitter, rather, they should form an opinion by doing research. Not to such a point that they will become an expert, but at least knowing the full story from one or two sources can help things immensely.
This is by no means meant to discourage teenagers from using Twitter or even from getting news from it, but we want to emphasize the importance of being informed which involves more than social media sites. Twitter is just a stepping stone to better, more informed sources.