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.