Mainstream Media & Social Media
Social media has both positive and negative aspects. It has allowed many more voices and stories to be heard, allowing individuals to broadcast their news without the need of a journalist or established media organisation. This is has been particularly empowering for the disenfranchised.
With much of the mainstream media now controlled by a handful of powerful individuals, social media represents a sea change in the way that news is both created and consumed. This democratisation of information is very powerful and can be compared to the invention of the printing press for its effect on society.
On the flip side, one could argue, that many content creators are unreliable sources of information, more based in opinion than in evidence-based journalism.
Furthermore, many platforms are run by global tech companies with unprecedented reach and are seemingly beyond regulation.
With the rise of social media algorithms and artificial intelligence shaping your individual news feed into an echo chamber, it’s hard to know quite where the truth lies these days.
We have to consider if we want the likes of Facebook and Twitter to be the arbitrator of popular discourse.
The Importance of Media Literacy
Knowing how to read the media is key to our ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking.
If all children were taught media literacy, like in Sweden and Denmark, then our future adults would be far better equipped at navigating the world of both mainstream and social media.
Social Networks & Building Community
One really great feature of social networks is that we can build global communities of like-minded people to share ideas and learning, organise grassroots activism, and generally bring people together.