News at Our Hand

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Today’s generation is using social media to engage in civic and political action.

It provides the millennia’s with an opportunity to gain a wide access of information through many platforms. While social media is often looked down upon as a waste of time and a source of disconnect for teenagers. Instead of always using it as a form of escape, many individuals are still interested in news and information; they just have new ways of accessing it compared to the traditional formats.

Millennia’s are not only consuming news on these social networks; they are consuming more than they intended to when they go on the networks, they are engaging with the news, and they are being exposed to a wider range of topics and opinions than many suspect.

Political scientists measure political participation along metrics such as reading the newspaper, affiliation with a political party, attending a town hall meeting, or casting a vote. But the use of social media to report, livestream, critique, and mobilize gives rise to a whole new generation of civic actors and civic acts that we are just beginning to recognize

When analyzing social media it is important to make a distinction between “power users” and “powerful users.” The former is a reference to frequency of use whereas the latter is a reference to currency in use (American Press Institute).

Power use, however, should not be conflated with powerful use. Powerful use is the degree to which use carries weight and influence in, for example, the political, policy, or pop culture realm. The power of Twitter resides in its brevity and speed of communication, the networks it can tap, and the content it can spread. But, not all networks, tweets, or content are equal.

This is the chief role of political engagement, to make those in authority responsive to the needs of the people. Social media will not be the primary reason change may one day come to cities, but it is almost certain to play a role in any transformation that takes place.

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One thought on “News at Our Hand

  1. This is a very important topic to our generation as most young adults are reading the news and learning about current events through social media. Our generation does not watch the news and does not read the newspaper, but go on social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay caught up on current events. We see major news companies like Fox and ABC posting daily on their social media accounts to stay relevant among their followers. As well, we see accounts like “Humans of New York” that are exposing the troubles of the world that the news does not cover. Our generation cares a lot about perspective and the different lives that are all over the world; social media allows us to get this perspective and change the way we see the world around us. The source of news has changed as this post explains, we get our news from social media right in our own hands.

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