Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Facebook, minding your own business, when a title catches your eye? “This New Discovery Will Change The Way You Think About Cocaine Forever!” And then you read the article, and you say to yourself, “Wow, I totally see cocaine in a new light.” Then you step back and remember that cocaine is definitely bad. But for a few, tantalizing moments, the writer had you really thinking that maybe cocaine wasn’t as bad as you thought. See, words have power. But with great power comes great responsibility. A good writer can make you see things from their perspective, even if their perspective is totally whack.
Remember when Aragorn led an army of men from Gondor and Rohan to the Black Gate of Mordor? His people were scared. Some of them had ill feelings towards one another. But that speech tho. In about two and a half glorious minutes, he replaced fear with faith, turned cowards to killers, and gave millions of us viewers the chills.
Bloggers work the same way. They play on our emotions. If they can fire you up about something, you’ll consume more of their product—AKA, read more of their articles, watch more of their videos, etc. But they’re at war with an ever increasing amount of competitors. Enter, Iterative Journalism: the practice of posting stories as soon as they are made available, with or without checking for accuracy.
For a blogger, “the pressure to ‘get something up’ is inherently at odds with the desire to ‘get things right’” (Holiday, 2012, p. 168). They’re looking for a catchy topic that will attract viewers, and they’re looking to get it out there before everyone else. Unfortunately, that means they’re not so worried about getting things right.
Many of these blogs (Gawker, National Enquirer, Newsroom, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, etc.) have become the main source of news for the world’s online audience. What happens when our news is more focused on speed of delivery than accuracy? Ultimately, it becomes the responsibility of the reader, rather than the blogger, to check the sources and determine truth and validity.
True, some bloggers are just trying to fill the world with uplifting, inspiring messages, or are simply out to put a smile on our faces. But we would be wise to take a step back every once in a while and think about what we’re reading. Don’t get caught believing things that aren’t true. It might be dangerous.
-Your Friendly Neighbourhood Blogger (Hyrum Sutton)
Aragorn Meme [Image]. ND. Retrieved from http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/55/55d9ea5ce6dcbff1c3790378997ce1b8b803a977305d30a3517a40562cf7cc1b.jpg
Blog [Image]. ND. Retrieved from http://www.theblogstarter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/4.jpg
Holiday, R. (2013). Trust me, I’m lying: Confessions of a media manipulator. New York: Penguin Group
National Enquirer [Image]. (September 12, 2016). Retrieved from http://static.mtonews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/08/Michelle_Gain_Weight2.jpg