The "Social" News Media

Although, Facebook isn’t the first of its kind. It is hard to talk about Social Media today without Facebook being a part of the conversation. I remember back when Facebook was first opened to high school users (I know, I’m old). Many people my age already had a Myspace account and were curious to see what Facebook had to offer. The criticism was unrelenting, “I hate Facebook! I can’t even see who all of my friends are!” Or “Why can’t I add music to my profile?” were common complaints. For me, it was the fact that I couldn’t change the design of my Facebook profile page with (admittedly ugly) HTLM-based style codes. I didn’t know it then, but I was learning how to code at the tender age of 14. Facebook consisted of angsty teenagers posting about how school is too hard, their parents don’t understand them, or that they’re going to the store with their family. That all changed once Facebook allowed users to make posts longer than 60 thousand characters! (That’s enough to write a novel!) My timeline exploded into paragraphs of complaints or pictures of pregnant bellies. People would overshare about their personal issues and spill the beans about their Facebook “friends”. Facebook became increasingly toxic and people began to wonder if having Friends in real life was a thing of the past. Fake Facebook profiles were common place and many people were terrified of being “unfriended” by people they barely knew in person. 10 years later and Facebook is unrecognizable except for the boring dark blue and white color scheme that I used to hate with a passion. The timeline is basically a rabbit hole of information with Fight videos, Pimple-popping, and worshiping MEMEs (An idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person with a culture.) It’s scary to think that I look forward to any ACTUAL news on Facebook. Facebook has become a Political News source for your average everyday American. My timeline exists in a vacuum of real and fake news about events that I wouldn’t know about without cracking open a newspaper in the 90's. I couldn’t tell you how many times people have shared posts claiming that President Obama was born in Indonesia or that President Trump once choked a baby with his bare hands on live TV. I’ve seen enough “Why aren’t we talking about (Insert totally random topic here)” Posts that my head might explode. The funny thing about “Why?” is that it is the wrong question to ask. If nobody is talking about that topic then how did you find out about it? The truth is... they just want you to share in their outrage. "Going Viral" is the new Gold Rush for American Society and the Social News Media is Judge and Executioner. Be careful out there.

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