Social Media or News: Opinion vs. Fact

Jason Polanco, Staff Writer

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When it comes to today’s world, where technology is so prevalent, there appears to be a decreasing number of students that acquire their information from actual news sources.

Now that there are social media outlets such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, a lot of the younger generations resort to using these as a way of gaining knowledge on current events and controversial topics.

Social Media is becoming a widely used source to acquire information nowadays.

Although many reliable news sources are now increasing their use of social media to appeal to other audiences, there are an increased number of “fake” news sources. Acquiring your news from social media isn’t the big problem, though. It’s the influence by other users and posts by uneducated individuals that appeal to the beliefs and ideas of the reader; the reader then takes that opinionated post and converts it into a “fact,” using it in debates and conversations and passing it on to other individuals that don’t bother to research the information.

“It’s honestly very annoying when you’re trying to have an educated conversation with someone and they act like they know what they are talking about or pull out untrue statements,” senior Halley Lane said. “If you’re going to contribute to a conversation at least know what you’re talking about first.”

Pictured is Senior Halley Lane (right) alongside Coach Russell (left).

My interest on this topic began last year during the presidential race; where throughout Coral Shores High School (CSHS) you could walk through the halls and hear nothing but clamor as students argued about different issues surrounding the race. The issue isn’t the fact that the conversations and arguments were centered around politics, but it was the varied responses to the same questions that students were asking each other that left any outsider thinking, “Is that true or is that false?”. I would like to consider myself a very knowledgeable person as I tend to keep myself updated on many current events and don’t jump straight to conclusions whenever I read a news article or see something on social media; I research first. So, when I would hear all these students’ mixed responses and false statements I was genuinely bothered, not by the fact that they were interested and concerned about the topic at hand, but rather that they were shouting out falsehoods that other student’s would retain and pass on into other conversations; leading to a chain reaction of students becoming swarmed by inaccurate statements.

“I was always watching the news and keeping up to date to the polls in the presidential race, but not so much to the issue surrounding it, ” sophomore Juan Gonzalez said. “I would hear things being said around the halls and be in shock, but never bothered to look anything up and thought it was just true; the moment I looked things up I realized that you have to really research a topic before you can give your take on it and that you can’t believe everything you hear.”

Pictured is sophomore Juan Gonzalez.

Now, I don’t mean to bash those that use social media as their main source of new and information; I use it too. Social Media can be a great way to keep yourself updated on current events and issues surrounding our world today, but I just don’t think it’s the best option. My take is that whatever information you receive from a social media outlet you cross check with whatever news source you prefer (MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CBS, PBS, etc.), and then you also research the topic online to make sure you are equipped with as much knowledge as possible. However, you can’t expect every person to do that as not everybody has the time to sit down and do extensive research on topics all the time, but if the number of people doing that increased, I feel it would be a lot more pleasant to engage in a conversation with someone even if they have different beliefs and viewpoints. Frankly, it is impossible to have a conversation with anyone nowadays without being bashed for your opinion.

“I don’t like sitting down and watching the news,” freshman Mario Menendez said. “It’s easier to get information from social media, but I know that you can’t believe everything that is said on there.”

We as a nation and as a school complain about the uneducated portion of our population, the ones who don’t stay up-to-date on current issues and talk nonsense when addressing those issues; but are we just being hypocrites? Do you bash others for not being knowledgeable on certain topics when in reality, even if you are more knowledgeable than that specific individual, aren’t really that informed on that topic yourself? News and social media is a beautiful thing, but we need to use it to our advantage. Don’t believe everything you hear; research it, watch the news, look at social media. If we could do these things more than we are now, maybe we would have a more educated population. Not only as a nation, but as students at CSHS as well.


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