In order to grow in this complex world, one must ensure they are equipped with the correct tools. Metaphorically, those who toil away with a dull instrument are destined to produce mediocre and unreliable results. I would label those people the ‘uninformed’. In the context of present media, one is able to receive a copious amount of information via a number of channels. Channels such as; newspapers, television, books, the internet and more recently social media.
Social media has offered a platform to the wider public, allowing them to divulge and share information. Moreover, it can be accessed within seconds and has the potential to be all consuming. As social media continues to grow, I find myself weighing up the pros and cons of social media, as it acts as a beacon of knowledge for some. Which leads me to my question.
In what ways has social media affected people’s ability to be informed about public issues?
As a student of journalism, I must be informed and prepared to discuss important issues that may impact on my life. As we live in a democracy, public opinion, and collective thought reign supreme. As Ralph Nader stated, an informed citizenry is a powerful force which can act as an agent of change on key world issues. Thus, it is imperative to learn the limitations and capabilities of social media as it pertains to its ability to inform the public in a global context.
To answer this question I will conduct both primary and secondary research. Firstly, I will examine the historical context of this topic and consume relevant information from academic sources. Once, I establish a comprehension foundation, I will then conduct primary research. This will manifest itself through surveys and interviews with a spread of demographics. I think it is very important not only to talk to millennials but also to those who consumed information prior to the advent of social media. The research will be both quantitative and qualitative, as I wish to learn the what and the why of the issue.
- Has the ability to receive information at your fingertips compromised the quality and reliability of said information?
- How many people go to social media for news and information compared to conventional media?
- Does social media create dialogue amongst consumers more than conventional media?
- Are people more informed because of social media’s instantaneous manner?
I have only scratched the surface, and I am excited to answer this question from a number of angles.