Social media outlets provide alternative, real-time updates to current events on a local, national and global basis. Often, catastrophic events appear as reports on major social media platforms before network or cable news coverage initiates reporting of the event. Some events never appear on major media outlets, despite having been witnessed and reported on social media.
On the other hand, social media reporting often magnifies the significance of specific events and the reactions to those events. Reactions appear instantly, and a herd mentality can drive discussions into a unilateral direction while facts are misreported, underreported, or unreported. As users, we should be reminded that the reactions on social media do not represent the reactions of every human being on the planet but instead represent the thoughts of:
· Social media users
· Bloggers looking for clicks/ad revenue with no real opinion
· Bot generators
Masked identities can drive a narrative and create the false impression that an idea is unpopular or popular when in fact the consensus opinion is the opposite. One must ask what impact this shadow culture might have on our lifestyles, governance, and society as a whole?