Week 8: Bridges made of pebbles

The bridge made of pebbles metaphor is an effective way of representing the way social media sites have changed the manor in which news is conveyed and consumed. Where it was once the norm for a few major news sources to be the conveyers of information, it is now more common that news is spread through a series of minor sources, i.e. millions of reddit, twitter and facebook users.

It’s much quicker to build a bridge of pebbles, than it is to craft a bridge out of a few stones. Social media is very quick at spreading the news of events because it doesn’t filter or sort facts. News reporters are slower because they take the time to gather sources and references so they can present a story that’s as complete as possible.

So with the internet we can spread news quicker than ever before. But is this a good thing or not? In some ways yes and in other ways most definitely not. Spreading raw facts allows for consumers to make their own mind up, in the age of “fake news” and a general distrust of “the other side’s” opinions, some could see this as a good thing. But when there is no filter, no measured voice of reason, you can get many wrong interpretations of the facts: such as when reddit played detective after the Boston marathon Bombings. Quicker than news outlets could piece together a story, reddit thought they’d identified the culprit (Sunil Tripathi), this lead to threats to his mother and eventually “Sunil’s body was found in the Providence River on April 23, 2013, and an autopsy revealed that he had committed suicide.” (Lee, T 2015)

Reddit was wrong.

We live in a world where we want all the facts as quickly as possible and we want to make our own minds up. This is okay, but we need to make sure we are measured in our assessments before making wild conclusions.

Sometimes we need to hear the other side.

References

Lee, T 2015, ‘The Real Story of Sunil Tripathi, the Boston Bomber Who Wasn’t’, NBC news.

 

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5 thoughts on “Week 8: Bridges made of pebbles

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  1. I like the way you have tackled this idea, how you explained the bridge of pebbles and it’s easier to make it with pebbles than rocks. Do you think because the main news outlets, almost the legacy media of news, are trying to keep up with social media and facts being shared straight away, that what they report on can even really be trusted? Sometimes I don’t know who I can ‘trust’ when it comes to the news because have we have discussed in this subject anyone can contribute to the internet and social media but also with gatekeeping in play, the ‘main news outlets’ can also shape and not tell us both sides.

    – Shay

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  2. This is a really interesting topic, the power that the internet has especially in regard to the example you provide of Reddit investigating the Boston marathon bombings. The internet has a knack for taking sides, so once they think they have something figured out it seems to stick. Together with a large number of people, the pebbles, have come to a conclusion, a bridge. I had not heard about that Reddit event, it was an interesting, and somewhat scary read in regard to the power of the internet.

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  3. Great topic! You use the bridge made of pebbles metaphor well to represent how social media change the flow of news and information, and then elaborate on this in detail which shows you clearly understand and know what you are talking about.

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