Information Spreads, Truth or Lies

An 2012 article published on CNN caught my attention while doing some online research regarding new media recently. The article is titled “In Today’s Warp-speed World, Online Missteps Spread Faster than Ever”. This article addresses the issue that misleading information, errors and lies can be spread online so rapidly that most people are not able to identify the truthfulness of these informations. Many examples in this article are celebrity related incident where they use social media to spread false information to achieve their own interest.

In the book Spreadable Media, Henry Jenkins says that “For even those groups who have greater access to digital technologies and have mastered the skills to deploy them effectively toward their own end.” The celebrities who deceive the audience are those who have greater access and more efficient with media technology. Hence, they abused the power of social media and caused bad effects using social media. I agree with both authors that it is disturbing to see how people are deceived by social media in a very ignorant way. On some level, our minds and thoughts are control by some other people or group who has the ability to influence our belief and emotion through social media. However, we should never deny the positive effects social media have in modern world using its spreadability.

In the past when someone is missing, we can put advertisement on newspaper, TV or radio. An online journal called “The Positives of Social Media: Spread of Information”shared a story of a similar situation when someone goes missing nowadays. A high school Jessica went missing after school around 4 pm. With the help of social media “2,237,700 people read about this girl’s disappearance less than 6 hours after she went missing.”  In this case, social media helped accomplished something that is impossible to be done in the past. I would take days for only a few people see advertisement like this in the newspaper, TV or radio, and most likely won’t even pay too much attention. The spreadability of social media can spread information not only rapidly but also in a powerful way.

     After knowing that the effects of social media can be a double edged sword for our society, I saw a very subtle and interesting idea from an article on New York Times called “Good News Beats Bad on Social Networks”. It says that “The spread and ubiquitous presence of envy on social networking sites is shown to undermine users’ life satisfaction.” After reading this article, my conclusion comes down to: It is not about whether social media is good or bad, however, it is the people. No matter where we go or what we do in life, we always see good and bad things happen. What is really controlling the direction of the righteousness of a particular instance, is the person intension who is behind this instance. It is the same for social media. Both good and bad people are using in to spread righteousness and evilness. At least from what I am seeing it, there will always be more kindness and righteousness in this world.


Secondary media text:



Jenkins, Henry. Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York: New York University Press, 2013.

The Positives of Social Media: Spread of Information



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