Please enjoy this guest editorial from our resident intern and future world-beater Juwan.
The news isn’t important. Well, not in the traditional sense anyway.
People don’t stay up to watch the 10 o’clock news anymore—or any news for that matter. And it’s all because we have this amazing invention called “the internet.” (Maybe you’ve heard of it.) The accessibility of the internet allows for anyone to post about anything, including things happening in their lives, in their community, and in their country. And now one of the top places for news is Twitter.
Now, there are certain restrictions and guidelines on what you can and can’t post on Twitter, but for the most part, people can do whatever they want. This allows for many people to comment and give their opinions on everything from artists to clothing to (you guessed it) the news.
Some say millennials don’t want to turn on a news channel because they’re lazy and are always on their phones anyway, but that’s just where we’re getting most of our news. I thoroughly believe that news has never been more consumed and discussed until now—and the accessibility of the internet is what allows this. But it’s also important to note that we are not just watching the news and doing nothing. We are talking, blogging, and making our opinions known to everyone that will listen. Through social media, we are willing and eager participants in the news itself.
We are not doing away with the news. We just have a new method of consuming it.
Now, I would be doing a disservice to you if I didn’t address the problem that is fake news. There are a lot of fake news sites that give out false information that can be misleading. I don’t think this should deter anyone from looking for news online because there just as many (if not more) reputable news sites that are telling the truth. Every big news channel has a website because they know this is how people are consuming the news now.
This new way of consuming news does come with drawbacks. Since people are now getting their news online, this means less people are watching the news which means nielsen ratings get lower. CNN’s new site is the most visited news site on the planet but they are always the last in ratings. In my opinion, this isn’t really a problem because the people that are paying attention to these ratings are (and let’s be honest here) people that get paid to and people that haven’t made the transition into this new way of consuming news. Nielsen ratings aren’t given much attention by the public anymore since everyone is aware of and making the transition to having everything online. Basically what I’m saying is: Nielsen ratings aren’t relevant.
Being an avid Twitter user and millenial myself, I can say firsthand that I receive almost all of my information from other Twitter users just posting about what’s happening in their part of the world. Twitter has allowed for people to not only inform others about issues and current events, but has also given every person with an internet connection a voice.
Social media as a whole has provided people with a platform to do anything—including start new careers and movements. The fact that at any moment someone can take a video, post it, and have millions see it instantly is crazy! (It’s also fun if you have a really good selfie and people notice it.)
This has significantly changed the way information and news are spread today—now we can get updates from the very people in the news stories themselves. A current and huge example of this is the aftermath of the Parkland shooting.
I remember scrolling through Twitter and getting all of the information from different users posting and commenting about it. Then I saw the victims get on social media and make their voices heard, which allowed for people all over the country (and world) to comment on what the very victims of the shooting had to say about what had happened to them. This allowed for a whole audience of people to rally around the victims, purely due to having seen them on social media and having heard their firsthand accounts of the situation.
What makes the Parkland shooting so important is the fact that the affected students are talking directly to us. We live in a time where the American people have expressed a clear aversion to big corporations, big government, and major institutions like “the media.”
But with Parkland, there is no middle man or news channel to accuse of misinterpreting the intentions of the victims. This direct communication from the victims themselves imbues them with power—their words, which began on social media and can now be seen everywhere, are the reason so many people have rallied to take action on gun control. Social media makes us feel close to them, their stories, and the truth. And it is so important we feel this closeness, because it is what has pushed us to fight for change.
We might not watch the news anymore, but it’s because we’re doing something much more important instead: making it.