There are very few people in this country that don’t use social media at their own leisure. Liking statuses and retweeting funny less-than-140 character comments are excellent time-eaters that people often take advantage of. Using them to their full advantage, however, is a skill that I’ve begun to develop, especially as an aspiring journalist.
Facebook has become both a space-filling activity as well as a valuable news source for me. Not only to I take special care to notice what is trending on the sidebar, but following sources like the New York Times and CNN does really well to blend my leisure with my updating of the world around me. Aside from scrolling through my friends’ thoughts on the Super Bowl, I now find myself clicking articles on topics that I’m interested in and reading their contents in full detail. In recent memory, this latest development on the renowned Sulkowicz Rape scandal caught my eye.
Utilizing other media, however, is a little foreign to me. As I wouldn’t consider Tumblr (a pseudo-blogging site) a legitimate news source, I’ve recently turned to Twitter for, at the very least, more reliable news. Being relatively new to Twitter, I wasn’t what to make of the bombardment of text and pictures that seemed to litter my screen with shorthand. I was perfectly aware of celebrity antics that Twitter is often used for, but I never really thought of it as a news source. I’m starting to get a feel of it, though, especially knowing that following classmates and news sources directly keeps me updated even faster than Facebook does. Writing up to 140 characters takes very little time, and with that short and sweet little post, my world expands. I can look into the thoughts and interests of my classmates and see what kind of news interests them, as well as know what news outlets are reporting on in a moment’s notice. Live-Tweeting, as I’ve heard it called, suddenly becomes a front-row seat to a story that practically unfolds before me. Breaking TV news, while having its visual advantages, suddenly becomes less prominent that a steady stream of shorthand keeping me posted.
Facebook is now becoming both an entertainment source as well as a useful tool for the news. And while still getting my feet wet with Twitter, I’m finally starting to see just how useful it can be. These time-eaters have suddenly become valuable tools in my arsenal as I continue in the world of journalism.