To help you get started on this assignment, let's brainstorm some ways in which social media has changed how we get and respond to information. Think about the people you know and interact with every day. Consider how many of them regularly read a print newspaper or even check a newspaper's website. Now consider how many people watch television news programs or listen to news programs on the radio. You might think, too, about how often you do these activities.
Now reflect on how you and the people you know get your news and information. Perhaps much of it comes from social media, even though some of these posts might be from more traditional media sources.
These days, more and more people are getting their news through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The news they get is generally in the form of soundbites, little pieces of information scattered here and there that don't typically present a full story about the issue. Rather, they give just enough to let people know that something is happening but not enough for anyone to discover the truth of the matter. Indeed, the news picked up on social media is often shallow and incomplete and, therefore, often misleading. Yet many people are choosing this news source over more traditional media.
Further, the increase in news from social media sources allows for the increase in immediate response to news. Many people comment on news posts, and sometimes a vigorous discussion breaks out in the comments section. This can be positive if it encourages people to think about and interact with the news they hear, but it can also lead to inaccuracies and conflicts as people spout off opinions that have not been well thought out (and they sometimes do so in a rude and confrontational manner). The news itself often fades into the background, upstaged by the discussion.
We might also argue that social media allows news to spread more quickly as people share it on their own social media sites or link it to others. If the news is accurate and thorough, this is good, but if it is not, then we have the problem of false information spreading even faster and wider than it otherwise would.