For myself, and I’m sure many others, my favorite part about the election coming to an end was that I no longer had to avoid my Twitter newsfeed during the debates or anytime either one of the candidates said anything and anything (seriously, anything). I was shocked to see how many of my friends were suddenly “political experts” taking their own feelings and opinions out on their own newsfeeds and timelines. Don’t get me wrong, we should all be able to express our own opinions via social media, that’s what it’s there for, however the constantly erratic and at times uneducated statements that were being thrown out into the Twitter-sphere were beyond annoying.
We expect our peers to be making these types of comments, but when it comes from a journalist how do we know what to believe or not believe? Many reporters took to live-tweeting the presidential debates and coverage through their own personal accounts. The hard part was trying to dig through all of these “bits of news” to decide what was in fact true and what was their own personal belief. For me, it got so bad that I felt that the journalists I follow were not in fact journalists but rather much like my peers with little credibility besides their own personal beliefs.
I think that if a professional news reporter is going to cover important election pieces like this, their tweets should be substantial news coverage. Some would disagree with my and argue that Twitter is like a big focus group- every one brings their own opinions and beliefs to the table. While agree that this true, when you consider yourself a professional journalists representing a news outlet, its best to keep your comments as factual, substantial, and neutral as possible.
The fact of the matter is, most people do look to Twitter for their news. Before the election I considered it to be one of the breaking sources for live, up-to-date information. But afterwards I had to step back and ask myself, is Twitter helping or harming journalism?