Is Social Media a Real News Killer?

Social Media May Be Leading to the Death of Quality Journalism

Journalism, Real News, Fake News, Facebook, Twitter, Social Media, istatetv

I came across an article in The American Conservative by Daniel Kishi titled, How Facebook Became the Assassin of Good Journalism.  The article starts off talking about evidence of Russia’s use of Facebook ads to attempt to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election.

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Kishi points out that the ads themselves didn’t actually endorse one candidate or the other, but rather that they “did seek to inflame controversies surrounding immigration, race, and sexuality. One advertisement featured a black woman firing a rifle, while others contained pro-LGBT and anti-Muslim sentiments.”

The point the writer is making is not to show how Russia may or may not have influenced the 2016 election, but how Facebook, in particular, is a platform that lends itself to quick flashes of emotion, emotion that is most easily triggered with words and images that invoke a creation of ‘other’ thinking.  They are the other, and as such are nearly subhuman.  Everything about them is wicked and not worthy of even attempting to have any dialogue with them.

The direction this article goes into next involves the ability to use a platform like Facebook, especially Facebook, with all of the myriad ways you can interact on Facebook, to create highly targeted, highly optimized, highly emotionally-charged ads designed to get a desired result, whether it’s to click on a link, buy something, or to think and feel a certain way.

Kishi says, “Actions such as visiting pages, liking posts, and sharing news articles help Facebook construct detailed user profile preferences. The social media company monetizes this information by sorting users into categories that can then be targeted by advertisers.”

The article makes some excellent points about the power of Facebook to create targeted ads that can effectively use emotions to trigger the advertiser’s desired response, and I encourage you to read it.

This article got me thinking about how social media overall has affected our lives, beyond being a useful tool for advertisers, be they Russians trying to create turmoil in the American political system or Dove Soap trying to sell…well…soap.

For those of us involved in the news business in one way shape or form, we can all relate to the classic dilemma we all face, write the kind of stories we want, make the kind of news-related videos we want, or create the kind of content that will actually get an audience.

I do not believe for a second that the way we are today regarding news is a new phenomenon, but rather that social media makes it easier to appeal to the more emotional, less critical, more fleeting, less thoughtful aspect of news delivery.

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About Paul Gordon 1367 Articles

Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines.
He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv