I work in a small office and generally, we take time during lunch to peruse Facebook and Twitter. Occasionally we share things we see through those mediums and it occurred to me the other day that I get most of my news from Facebook postings. I do look at my local paper online, but I really can't stand their website, so I tend to look at their phone or tablet app which gives me the news articles without the annoying pop-up ads. I also listen to KYW, but it is in the morning when I am getting ready so my concentration is not there.
I thought that learning things through social media was akin to learning all my news from the slanted Fox News, but I think that the reality is that the news that I get is more varied; more subject to truth and opinion from people I trust. I don't really think it is that bad to get information on what is happening around me via that medium. Since I was a communications major in college I learned that Marshal McLuhan said "the medium is the message". It was introduced in his book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, published in 1964. Hot medium, such as movies make more of an impact on the viewer than cold medium, like television. I would suspect that Facebook and Twitter would be considered a cold medium, one that can loose part of the message due to the distractions possible when viewing television. I wonder what he would say about social media today. But the fact of the matter is that social media, cold or warm, engages people to connect and opinion.
I know this medium has a permanent place in our culture now and I would not be surprised to find that others learn about what is going on through their own "friends". The people we connect with through social media have become our reporters and editors in the world around us. We trust their content, probably more than the content from paid media, because we have more of a connection with them and trust them.