Social Media: My Source for News, Comment & Community

Remember the days of waking up, stepping onto your porch, picking up the newspaper, and reading the latest headlines? I have a vague recollection. It’s been some years since I subscribed to a newspaper.

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Remember the days of waking up, turning on your laptop, opening your browser, and finding out what was making news? That memory is also starting to fade.

Increasingly, I get my information through social media, particularly Facebook. I’ll often start my day at Ingenex Digital Marketing by visiting such online news outlets as The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, or The New York Times. However, I’ll usually exit after a few minutes given that I become overwhelmed by the amount of content. Other than the very latest news, I don’t always know where to look or what’s most relevant to me.

That inevitably leads me to Facebook to see what is on the minds of the people in my network. If there’s breaking news, someone will probably pass on word. If there’s some controversial issue, people will likely discuss it.I found out about the death of Whitney Houston through Facebook. Someone in my network posted it minutes after it was announced. That was a first — I had always learned of such things firsthand through TV news.

And then, we’re now in the final months of a presidential race. So, of course, there’s also been a great deal of political discussion on Facebook. I know people on both the left and the right and in all places in between, and I’ve been intrigued by the viewpoints shared. I may not agree with everything that’s said, but I’m more likely to consider the thoughts presented given these are folks I know and with whom I have a relationship.

It has become even more apparent to me since I started working at a digital marketing agency that social media is the modern equivalent of a town square. There’s extra joy in finding out positive news from people I know, and there’s a certain comfort in discussing tragedy from friends and acquaintances. What it ultimately comes down to is community — people want to feel connected to one another. The newspaper and other more traditional forms of media may have helped bind people in the past. Now, social media seems to fulfill that role.

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