How social media emerged as the alternative to news channels

In the age of information, where everything is interconnected and it takes seconds for news to travel from one part of the world to another, one might imagine that getting accurate data is really simple. However, ubiquitous information doesn’t guarantee accuracy. Besides, the way people get their news has changed. We no longer rely as much on radio and television and instead we turn to the Internet to stay up to date with what happens in our countries or faraway lands. For example, if someone wants to read Tanzania news, but does not live in this country, turning on the computer to read articles online would be more productive than waiting for news to turn up on TV. Interestingly, social media platforms are becoming more important for news, even though initially they were made for socializing.

How TV channels lost their audiences’ trust

There was a time when the information given by TV channels was sacred and uncontestable. No one questioned the things they heard, because reports seemed so well put together. However, the population soon started to learn about political bias and how it presents watchers an altered reality. In countries with a controversial political regime, such as Uganda, TV is not exactly reliable, which is why people turn to the web to learn about the latest news in Uganda. Political bias is the first thing that made channels lose their audience’s respect, but the drop in quality is to blame as well. Quality journalism has become a lost art; channels that once took the time to make in-depth analysis of current events now only allocate them five minutes to then discuss trivial matters and promote low quality content.

Online news travel faster

Unlike conventional media channels, the Internet helps information travel at incredible speeds. As soon as something happens, in your country or elsewhere, someone tweets about it and that tweet is passed on. If you follow the right people, you can learn about current events before anyone else. In addition, you don’t have to get home to find out: you can use your smartphone on the go and always be up to date with everything that happens.

Accurate and unmodified information

Social media offers access to accurate and raw information. If a political leader posts something on Twitter, you can read exactly what they said and understand their words from context. Unfortunately, there are many news sources that manipulate information and thus their audience. In regions where the media is being controlled by the ruling party and people get to see only part of the truth. By using social media, you are more likely to discover the truth or at least enough alternative versions to what is being presented to you, so you can draw your own conclusions and avoid being manipulated. Over the world, there are many examples of how social networks helped shed light on fraudulent elections and prevented corruption from spreading. At the present rate, people are more likely to trust something posted online, straight from the source, then rely on the interpretations and omissions of conventional media.

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About Jennifer Garrett

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