Social News Sites– Decline in Actual News?

Top 7 Stories on Reddit

For my practicum presentation, I decided to explore my previously unchartered territory of social news sites. These news aggregates, such as Reddit, Digg, Delicious, Chime.in, Fark, etc., let the people chose the information and content they think is most important for other users to see.

This mode of Internet production and consumption gives the power to the average person, which eliminates personal and corporate agendas, while increasing transparency. In theory, this sounded  like a great idea before I got started doing my research. After many hours spent perusing these websites, I have concluded that it is still a unique, helpful, and beneficial mode of Internet “produsing,” however, there are a few implications with its actualization.

For example, I began to notice that entertainment, humor, news, and news commentary all started to become intertwined. While users can choose to enter subreddits (/r/) or specific newsrooms on Digg, the front page is a culmination of whatever the most users find most interesting. I struggle with this because while having the authroty to chose the news is  empowering, there is something to be said for education value of pure news. Stories can also be dense with political bias and incorrect information.

Stemming back to the public television debates from a few years back, people need to know what is going on in the world, but are they interested? What are the ethical implications of that? Will young adults begin reaching out to these kinds of websites to get their news, or has it already happened? What would be the consequence of that?

Real time example: you can see my top 7 “news stories” on Reddit and six of them are entertainment. SOPA legislation slips quietly into the seventh spot.

 

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