Archived Story

Social media a necessary evil

Published 8:34pm Thursday, May 22, 2014

Most of us who work at the Washington Daily News use social media, and in fact, our newspaper has a Facebook and Twitter account. It’s one of the ways we try and get our news out to the reader more quickly.

However, it’s not always the news we post.  In the last week, we began taking random pictures around the city and posting them to our social media accounts. We have taken pictures at the waterfront, dinner from one of the fine establishments and the stone marker of the time capsule.

We have even tried to engage our followers with a new hashtag, #abouttown.

Social media, however, has become a necessary evil because many of us want our news instantly. We scroll through our feeds looking at our friends’ random thoughts or actual news that may come across.

Sometimes we get caught in the fake stories somebody has created and share them like they are real. There is no clue how many times we have read Bill Cosby died on social media. Late this winter Newman (Wayne Knight) from Seinfeld was reported to have died on social media. Both are alive and well.

However, sometimes a feel good story comes across and goes viral, like Jonathan Rowe’s guardian angel piece after April’s tornadoes. Over 25,000 people clicked on that link to read his story through Facebook.

The guardian angel story is the stuff that makes social media great: we can share the good in this world that came out of a terrible event and let the world know.

Twitter has become one of those places where we now go for breaking news. One of those reasons is due to continuous feed and live stream of news. The other is its short reading a 140 character limit.

Everyone should be careful what you share on social media, by doing a brief amount of homework on snopes.com before reposting. It’s a great website that debunks Internet urban legends.

Just a reminder to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @WDNweb.

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