With every new generation, the complaints start up again. It doesn’t matter the year, demographic or location. Students always hear the constant grumble from educated adults regarding the ignorance of today’s youth, the lack of concern teens have for worldly events, the indifference kids feel towards news and so on. Our generation, though, may finally put an end to this dismal truth about teenagers. The surging popularity of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has an unexpected effect as it quietly opens students’ eyes to breaking news.
Everything these days quickly becomes a Facebook status. From “just got a new cat!” to “stuck doing psych project all night” pops up in the average teen’s newsfeed. These statuses stretch beyond simple, personal tasks though. It’s become common to find a link to an important news story or status about groundbreaking event in the newsfeed. Tidbits of information seep into the reader’s brain, giving them at least some idea of what the news story is.
A solid example of this, on a large scale, is the Osama bin-Laden Facebook explosion in May. From the moment the first hint of bin Laden’s death leaked, my newsfeed was flooded with statuses constantly updating me on what was going on. There was barely a need to turn on the television. The posts continued well into the night, ending with a series of congratulations after Obama’s televised speech. That was just one dead man. He was a horrifying terrorist, but nonetheless, one man. Could you imagine the posts if Facebook had been popular in 2001, when close to 3,000 innocent people died in the September 11 attacks?
Of course, bin Laden’s death is an extreme example of the impact social media has on spreading news to teenagers. Often it’s as simple as one student posting an article on the release of prisoners in Palestine or a friend retweeting a tweet describing a tsunami that hit Japan. Posts like that place our generation a step ahead of the ones before us.
The biggest con to news spread by social media is the possibility of inaccurate posts. Pasting the link to a story covered by a newspaper is one thing, but actually rephrasing the headline may lead to false statements and incorrect facts.
Nonetheless, students with accounts on social media sites have the power to spread headline news and prove ignorance does not belong in this generation. This trend has already started, but it’s only just begun. As social media blossoms into a necessity for everyday life, students’ knowledge of world events will shoot up and snide remarks on kids’ disinterest in the news will slowly fade away. Those grumbling, educated adults will be left in shock as a newly informed generation of students slowly emerges.