(Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

EDITORIAL: TBT (think before you type)

Kneejerk social media reaction is ruining thoughtful public discourse

To comment or not to comment? That is the question.

The ability to react quickly to something is both the blessing and the curse of the social media age

Modern journalists get to watch how quickly the likes, shares, and comments will go up on a story will go up after it gets published.

The record so far? Twenty seconds.

Kudos to you if you can read a 300-500 word story that fast. Too bad that isn’t usually reality though.

Instead, the reality is that we live in an era where people are quick to like and share information having only read a mere headline. For all they know they could be spreading an article full of misinformation.

While it is fake news that the media is fake news, there could very well come a time when we get it wrong despite our best efforts to get it right. Do not forget, the media, like any other institution, holds a privileged position of power. While we hold government to account, it is the readers job to hold us to account.

Back in the glory days of letters to the editor, readers were provided with a time buffer before they could react to a story. Now there is instant instigation online, before we’ve even had a moment to breathe or digest what we have just read.

We all need to get our news from somewhere, hopefully somewhere we trust and the ability to react to it is invaluable.

What we stand to lose though is much more important, and that is thought-provoking public discourse.

So think before you comment.

Although if you made it to the end of this article then chances are you’re not part of the problem.


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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