How Does Reliance on Social Media for News and Information Affect News Consumers’ Perspectives?

How Does Reliance on Social Media for News and Information Affect News Consumers’ Perspectives?

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How Does Reliance on Social Media for News and Information Affect News Consumers’ Perspectives?

            Social media is a term used to describe a collection of online communication channels that are designed to offer users a dedicated community-based input, content sharing, interaction, and collaboration of news and information. These media include websites and mobile applications, which offer access to blogs, forums, social networking, social curation, social bookmarking, and wikis (Pentina & Tarafdar, 2014). Pinterest, Facebook, Reddit, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ are some of the popular social media platforms (Johnson & Kaye, 2014). The research will focus on the use and application of social media, and how it has become an integral component of the daily lives of people – an aspect that has led to the development of several social, economic, and political practices. The study will investigate how much reliant are people on social media for their news and information and the impact of this reliance on their perception of the world. The findings may change the way various social, economic, and political issues will be addressed in the future.

            The study will be premised on the observation that the use of social media for the consumption of news and information does influence the perception of the consumers as it offers an alternative from the traditional outlets of news and information. It is important to note that conventional forms of media, for instance, television, newspapers, and radio, have been criticized for being overtly subjective in reporting and sharing data with the public (Turcotte, York, Irving, Scholl, & Pingree, 2015). Although the traditional media has ventured into the social media realm, it will not influence the veracity of the data and news shared on these platforms.

Issues such as unemployment, pollution, social justice, and good governance will become more accentuated topics of public discourse in the present era of social media than to the past era when people depended on traditional media houses for news. The increasing dependence on social media for information represents a paradigm shift and its impact on the way the society perceives the social, economic, and political issues (Johnson & Kaye, 2014). For example, the Black-Lives-Matter civil rights movement in the US began as a local advocacy social media campaign against police brutality on the African Americans but eventually became a global online advocacy movement on issues surrounding social justice.

The reliance on social media for news and information is supported by the following facts:

  • A narrowing gap between online and television news consumption.
  • Mobile devices encourage users to check the news online.
  • Older adults will be at the forefront of driving growth in the use of mobile news.
  • Two-thirds of Americans (67%) report of getting a portion of their news and information from online sources (Zhang, Johnson, Seltzer, & Bichard, 2010).
  • A majority of the persons of color and less educated populations in the US are reported of consuming news from digital sources.

To understand this phenomenon further, the research might need to establish:

  1. The impact of fabricated or “fake news” on the consumption of online news and information.
  2. The effect of social media applications and their usage on the perception of their users.
  3. Is traditional media trusted more than the social media for news and information?  
  4. Do social media serve only to entertain, while most people go to traditional media websites for “authentic” news?
  5. How social media drive public opinion?


Johnson, T. J., & Kaye, B. K. (2014). Credibility of social network sites for political information among politically interested Internet users. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication19(4), 957-974.

Pentina, I., & Tarafdar, M. (2014). From “information” to “knowing”: Exploring the role of social media in contemporary news consumption. Computers in Human Behavior35, 211-223.

Turcotte, J., York, C., Irving, J., Scholl, R. M., & Pingree, R. J. (2015). News recommendations from social media opinion leaders: Effects on media trust and information seeking. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication20(5), 520-535.

Zhang, W., Johnson, T. J., Seltzer, T., & Bichard, S. L. (2010). The revolution will be networked: The influence of social networking sites on political attitudes and behavior. Social Science Computer Review28(1), 75-92.

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