The beginning of the new millenium has been accompanied by the spread of social media into our lives. These digital social spaces presented us to join their environments have influenced our communication ways and relation to the information in general.
You can find similarities among each social media platform in the sense of their function and design. Generally, users have their walls or space in which they publish their content or share other things like songs, videos, pictures, etc.
Information is one of the elements private or public accounts share on social media platforms. The enormous speed of circulation of the information is the unique quality of how information has been processed on these platforms.
According to the Pew Research Center, 48% of people in US say that they learn the news from social media by indicating the frequency as "often" and "sometimes" in 2021.
Moreover, users are highly free to choose which channel they want to follow, which news they want to see, which text they want to read, etc.
For this reason, it may be hard to reach the accurate information on social media. People may only see the ones published by accounts they follow.
Moreover, think about it during crisis times!
Even it gets complicated during the crisis times when everyone wants to share the news before others publish it.
Limitations of social media in crisis times
How social media work is not perfect!
There are some aspects that make information collection on social media ineffective during critical periods. These factors should be taken into account when searching for information in those periods.
False reports can spread easily!
A fanatic or scammer can launch false information as factual content. Followers of this account can share and repost this deceitful information. Then, the false content begins to be talked about, which is presented by the other reporters as "people now are talking about it". Also, mainstream channels might announce the fake report as factual information.
False information can be examined in three main categories: misinformation, fake news, and disinformation.
Misinformation refers to content that is not true with no intentional motivation.
Fake news is the reports that are intentionally generated to deceive the receivers. Most of them are loaded with emotional features for the audience.
Disinformation also includes motivation of misleading people by spreading biased and manipulated content.
Inadequacy of mass systemization
As you experience, social media channels are not meant for a standard production of knowledge or a one-type sharing on a topic. These social media platforms are mostly designed to boost personal ideas and feelings. Therefore, finding correct information during crisis times is not easy in these individual-based spaces.
Facilitation of anti-social actions
When something is not as the normal times, people want to come together to understand what is going on and what can be done to avoid harmful effects of the crisis times.
However, not everybody acts in line with the societal motivations. At this vulnurable moments, some people want to launch misinformation, manipulated data, rumours, cyber attacks, or violate privacy rules, etc.
For this reason, social media might evolve in a place of chaos in times of state of exception.
How to reach information?
For finding reliable information, we need to understand better how social media platforms work with respect to data sharing. To notice the actors and ways of publishing content might be helpful.
Crisis management on social media
As said above, there are actors who have impact on how people make sense of data they see on social media.
Media organizations, political groups and unions, popular individuals/ influencers, companies, regular users, emergency management agencies, etc. are the ones that contribute to circulation of information during crisis moments.
Mostly, the influencial users do not generate novel questions. They tend to close the distance between different information and try to eliminate uncertainty. Therefore, looking at accounts of various trustworthy influencial people might be useful compare the information.
Correct sourcing in crisis times
Nowadays, people anticipate that emergency information or reports are delivered to the public on social media immediately after the event occurs. Regardless of the geographical distance, social media becomes the site to reach correct information.
Therefore, rather than the traditional media channels, the social media ones are seen as first to check.
While media organizations and emergency management agencies launch the information at the first moment of crisis, individual accounts take their place at later stages.
Individual accounts, particularly the popular ones, can be crucial in crisis times. You might know trustworty accounts and want to enlarge your sources via the network of these accounts.
Do not forget monitoring some qualities of the posts with the content of crisis news!
Always inspect who is the author publishing the breaking news. You can check the origin of the individual user, public and private institutional actors, which makes them author of speaking of the news.
It might sound trivial, but examining the grammatical and spelling mistakes is one way of checking the accuracy of the content. The text you face should be professional to be regarded as a news source. Therefore, it is also significant for the news content to involve references, and links to the other sources.
You can see whether the news supports a side or not. If there are prejudices and personal biases that construct the narrative of the news, the text becomes suspicious.
Sometimes, the old events can be presented as the new ones during crisis times. For instance, a video or a photograph of an event can easily spread as the evidence of breaking news. You can check the temporal aspect of the content if it really matches or not.
Twitter comes forward among other social media channels for the news. According to Twitter, people are so interested in Twitter to look at recent reports.
Circleboom Twitter has highly useful Twitter management tools, which can help you to re-organize your Twitter network.
Manage your Twitter account wisely.
For instance, you can browse a reliable account's followers and friends in terms of the news sources. You need to log in your Circleboom Twitter account. Then, you can navigate the sidebar in the left side of the homepage.
Step #1: After finding the search tool in the sidebar, you can find specific tools with regard to browsing feature.
Under the search tool part, you can click on the "Account Search".
Step #2: You can see two sections as "display friends" and "display followers" on the following page.
If you want to investigate accounts that the reliable user follows, you can browse these account through the search engine in the "display friends" part.
If you want to search for accounts that follow reliable users, you can browse them through the search engine in the "display followers" part.
Step #3: You can narrow your search by using search filters.
Particularly, clicking on "show only verified" can be beneficial.
You can also watch a video instruction below.
To Wrap Up
Many people use social media channels as places for looking at the current news. Specifically, if it is a matter of crisis, the social media platforms' quick circulation of the breaking news makes them attractive to check-in. However, it does not mean that this fast news content would be reliable.
Every user should be open to re-check and search for various sources to confirm news in crisis time. Circleboom Twitter has significant tools to investigate networks as sources of information. One of them is to browse a trustworthy Twitter account's friends and followers to gather reliable reports.