Paper 1 – Summary Response [delete and use creative title] In the 2010 “Focus on Feeds” video we watched, Ruchi Sanghvi said the purpose of the algorithm behind Facebook’s News Feed was meant to “separate the signal from the noise.” In our current media culture, information swirls around us at a dizzying pace, and as responsible participants, we must learn to think critically about how information is transmitted and what information matters the most. But how exactly do we “separate the signal from the noise” on a daily basis? What strategies do people use to make sense of all of the information available to them in the twenty-first century? In this paper, you will compile (summarize) and evaluate (respond to) various strategies for deciding what information a responsible person should prioritize and value. For the summary portion of this paper, you will talk to at least two individuals about their interactions with information and media producers. Think of information and media in a broad sense: this can include news, updates from family and friends, entertainment, among others. Also, do not assume individuals will find their information online in digital form. (People still read newspapers and listen to the radio.) With this in mind, ask at least two people to answer the following questions honestly:
1. From what sources do you find or encounter information throughout the week? (Examples: television, newspaper, radio, computer, smartphone, etc.)
2. Of these sources, what media producers and news sources do you spend the most time viewing or listening to? (Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, CNN, local news, Apple News, Google News, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
3. What motivates you to view this media, and do you have a strategy for media consumption? If so, what is it? If not, what might a good strategy be?
After summarizing what you hear from your interviewees, respond to what you heard by evaluating, describing, and formulating your own strategy. Describe your current information consumption by answering the three questions (above) for yourself. After that, share your thoughts about the strategies you heard from your interviews and respond with what strategies you think are most helpful.
Start and end your essay with an interesting example of media consumption from your own or someone else’s experience. This paper should be at least 2 full pages but not more than 3 pages (600-900 words). Use MLA format: double-spaced, using a
version of the Times or Arial fonts (size 12), with one-inch margins. Your paper will earn a penalty if you do not use proper MLA formatting. (As an example, this prompt is formatted using MLA format.) Your paper will also include a Works Cited page with citations for each interview you conduct. The Works Cited citations for interviews are simple (remove the quotation marks): “Smith, Jane. Personal interview. 28 January 2017.”
Answer to the Question
The Emergence of Social Media as a News Source
The pervasiveness of social media in the contemporary world cannot be understated. Hermida (2) describes social media as a group of people working independently to ensure the effective distribution of information. Social media sites like Facebook have risen from basic chatting platforms to a source of entertainment and information. The site is used by billions of users all over the world. The popularity of Facebook has endeared me to it; consequently, I use it as my main social networking site. Many people trust and obtain their news from Facebook, and this can be attributed to the fact that the users of the site post on a myriad of issues. The advent of Facebook as a credible source is credited to factors such as the social networking giant’s decision to revise its algorithms to refine the content structures and the heightened activity of news organizations on the site. The trend to use the website as a news source transcends the different demographics, including sex, age, and social status. A responsible person should strive to rid sites like Facebook of the fake news that permeate them. The first step to make sense of information on Facebook is to confirm the credibility of the individual posting the news. Ideally, the information posted should be accompanied by a link that points to a trusted source like an internationally acclaimed news site.
Mr. Sylvester Lannister, a young adult aged 27 is transitioning from mainstream news sources like radio and television to social media. “Mainstream media has been compromised by partisan interests,” he says. He holds that corporations have bought into news agencies and they impose their interests into the day to day running of the companies. The news groups then have to conform their informational offerings to suit the commercial interests of their owners (Lannister). Twitter is an increasingly popular platform for instantly distributing short fragments of data (Hermida 1). Sylvester prefers to use Twitter for receiving breaking news because of the speed at which the site is updated.
Miss Brenda Koki prefers Facebook because she has a preference for entertainment news. Facebook permits users to post long articles and video content which makes it an excellent avenue for disseminating entertainment news. The sites algorithm allows users to upload live videos of themselves, and celebrities have utilized this feature to keep their fans updated. “I feel that Twitter is a serious social media site because it is mainly used to circulate breaking news,” she says. Facebook is encompassing for all demographics because it is easy to use (Koki). I typically prefer viewing and using news pieces posted by large media houses because they are stringent on what is posted by their communication teams.
Social media users have varying informational needs, and this defines the sites they use. Facebook is used by different users because of its versatility, on the other hand, Twitter has an official outlook. Social media sites should promote their unique identities because this will allow them to capture a specific niche. Although social media is becoming the typical go-to-source for contemporary users, caution has to be taken in the consumption of information from these sites. The double verification of information is an imperative facet in the course of using social media as a primary source. It is important to follow patterns and rely on trending information because credible news is bound to be hyped by different users, hence creating a reputable trail. Media consumption requires the sanitization of the sources used, any outlets with underlying personal or business interests should be disregarded. Social media is a popular source because the information posted can be easily verified, and most of the information typically originates from the “horse’s” mouth.
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