The Double-Edged Sword That Is Social Media

The Double-Edged Sword That Is Social Media

Instant gratification is great and all, but what are the consequences?

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The idea that news could travel around the world in a matter of seconds has been around for decades, but it wasn't until the past decade that people really started seeing the value of this speed. In 2015, the Charlie Hebdo tragedy marked the first time that social media, specifically Twitter in this case, played an integral role in spreading real-time information on the incident as it was happening. Suddenly, people didn't have to wait for major news sources to cover certain news before learning specific details anymore. The moment an earthquake happens, people involved could mark themselves safe on Facebook in just a few seconds, while when incidents like Charlie Hebdo happens, the outside world is able to follow along with the incident as it unfolds.

Social media's ability to quickly share real-time information to the everyday human has both positive and negative implications. The obvious positive implication is the speed at which people can now receive information. The convenience of technology is now an assumption that most people don't even think about. However, social media's ability to spread real-time information calls into question the reliability and accuracy of the news that anyone on social media can spread around. One typo or one mistake sent out on social media could reach thousands of people in the span of just a single minute in a major event. In this sense, social media is revolutionizing the reliability and validity of an average piece of real-time information. People are told not to trust everything they see on the internet, while others who are informed of this negative consequence will know to not trust one single source of information. For the youth, the elderly, and others generally uninformed populations on the double-edged nature of social media, social media may very well be the cause of mass fear or outrage from misinformation.

While social media enables real-time information to travel much more quickly than before, it is increasingly imperative that users are aware of the sometimes unreliable nature of the data they receive. Don't believe everything you see on the internet, and please don't blindly share anything you see without checking the source.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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