Students increasingly use social media for news

Taylor Williams

Today’s generation of teenagers and young adults represents a new breed of Internet users, often called “digital natives” for growing up alongside computers, says Marc Prensky, author of “Digital Natives: Digital Immigrants.”

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that in time, the number of hours of media exposure has increased, along with the frequency of multitasking while using media.

Sophomore news major Zach Downes said that he uses social media to get news, following accounts like The New York Times or The Huffington Post to make sure the information is accurate.

“I have mixed emotions about getting news from Twitter because anyone can post news,” he said. “I always check it out after reading it to verify its truth.”

Other students say they don’t use social media but rather check the news organizations’ websites to get updates.

Sophomore nursing major Samantha Rhoades said she checks CNN’s website for news or, if she has time, she watches the news on TV.

Rhoades said when she does see news on Twitter she thinks it is reliable.

Kent State marketing professor Colin Campbell said because of social media, users are able to filter the news to make it more personalized, which means even people using the same app could be looking at different news.

“I usually only see news when a big event is going on,” Rhoades said. “But I think it is important for our generation to try to be informed on the latest news.

Campbell said in terms of the platform students use to receive news, “every other source is going down except for mobile.”

Social media allows news to be “accessed quickly quick and updated frequently, but it isn’t always accurate,” Campbell said.

“Once, I read that Oprah had died on both Twitter and Facebook, but it turned out it was a hoax that was spreading around the Internet,” Downes said.

According to a study done by Howell Communications, nearly 80 percent of college students said they use major sites to get news. Even though students use social media for news, most students are aware that the news can be inaccurate.

“I think it’s important to have reliable news sources since we are the people that will be affected by the outcomes of these issues,” Downes said.

Contact Taylor Williams at [email protected].