Essay Sample: Effects of Reliance on Social Media for News and Information on the Consumers' Perspective

Published: 2023-09-25
Essay Sample: Effects of Reliance on Social Media for News and Information on the Consumers' Perspective
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Advertising Social media Behavior Customer service
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1813 words
16 min read

Social media refers to a web application that allows users to create profiles and make explicit and new relationships. (Boyd & Ellison, 2008). It is broad and includes a wide range of applications and websites and acts as a means of conveying news in various ways around the world. Social media influences consumers’ perspectives through the information they get from these websites and applications (Lee, 2013). In recent years, social media has become the most effective method of passing information. The ease of access to social media has made it vulnerable to unethical practices, thus, making information obtained from it unreliable. The research attempts to answer the question; what impact does reliance on social media as a source of information have on consumers' perspective? Is it worth it to rely on social media for news and information over other media such as television? This research will examine how social media news impacts consumers’ opinions and views by analyzing these effects using the medium and spiral of silence theory. Social media is easily accessible and has broader coverage than other news platforms (Nielsen & Schroder, 2014). It has fewer limitations on the content they have and is sometimes relatively uncensored (Tang & Whinston, 2012). As a result, social media companies attempt to control the information on their sites by pulling down violent and unwanted material such as displaying nudity and posts directed to other users with racist comments.

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As a source of news and information, social media has negative and positive effects on the consumer’s point of view. Social media is currently the most used source of news and knowledge because of its speed of access (Lee et al., 2017), meaning that it can have an impact on the lives of a specific group of people. In most cases, these platforms negatively troll and tarnish the image of a particular group of people or celebrities. Anyone who can access the internet can get information from social media sites anywhere across the globe. Another essential factor in social media as a way of conveying news is that it has quick responses. This happens when those who have interacted with the news give their opinion by commenting on the post.

The medium theory focuses on how different media communication are unique from each other while passing the same message. (Meyrowitz, 2019). It argues that when the media makes an announcement, the information will have different effect on the consumers. People always want to understand the message in the way they prefer. The theory explains how various forms of communication compare and contrast with face-to-face interaction. Consumers react differently to how news is conveyed to them as it creates a different perspective on their lives. The medium theory is well illustrated in several films such as the war of worlds. The film' war of the worlds' created fear among the people by reporting attacks from the sky, thus sparking a reaction to those who watch it. According to De Abreu (2019), the medium used to convey a message modifies the information, therefore, influencing our social lives. It shows that media plays a role in distorting the data, and as a result, it created fear to the consumers.

The need to understand the Third-Person Effect on various social media content has led to many types of research, with its magnitude being less explored. It portrays that social media users usually believe that messages from the media have a more significant effect on others and not themselves (shin et al. 2018). In Guerrero's (2016) opinion, the type of news has a substantial impact on the third-person for news but not for violent content. The author holds a master's degree in strategic communication and public relations, which clearly shows that he possesses the required qualifications to perform the research, thus making the source legitimate. The third-person effect mainly applies to youths who are regular users of social media. This article helps to portray the level that the media content has on the consumers. There is a need to define the appropriate social media materials that lead to the difference in the magnitude of the effect. Third-person Effect occurs when one is used to doing something like spending most of their time on social media platforms is that it becomes hard to focus on personal duties, and they still feel that they are not addicted to social media.

Social media is a platform that is operated by anyone, therefore, making it prone to fake news. There is no need to collect and report factual information like the other media, such as radio stations. In social media, one is not held accountable for the information they provide, and in most cases, they offer their opinions on a specific issue. According to Silva et al. (2017), it is an ongoing problem because there is very little research by social media sites to validate the content that is being posted by its users. A study on literature about the detection and characterization of fake news shows the impact of social media on consumers. Social media platforms are the medium of fake news and can change consumers' view if we take them seriously.

In cases where consumers do not detect fake news, their perspectives in the world are severely affected. An example of a fake news incident occurred before the previous USA general election, where rumors were circulating that Ms. Clinton, who was a presidential candidate, was involved in a pedophile sex ring at a pizza shop called Codet Ping Pong. The employees of Codet Ping Pong began receiving death threats from the Right-Wing activists, who believed that the reports were accurate. There is an allegation that there was an email that showed instances of this offense, this sparked Twitter outrage across various states.

The spiral of silence theory proposed by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann (1974) refers to the behavior of consumers to remain quiet when their opinions differ from those of the majority on a particular subject or political views. It mainly occurs during political campaigns. Social media users fear to voice their opinions as they feel it could result in isolation when the

other users realize that a specific person has a different preference from the majority, therefore creating fear of isolation. There are instances where a user feels that once they voice their opinions, they end up facing more consequences, like losing their job. It usually occurs when a person from the majority opinion comes out openly and to show their support to a particular case, therefore, making the person who feels has less support uncomfortable to state their opinion as a result of fear.

This situation causes a spiral because the concern continues to build and could fail to raise the idea of the minority, Hampton et al. (2014). Social media plays a vital role in stating the opinions of the users and, as a result, oppresses the minority because those who feel are of a similar view are likely to come out publicly and talk about the issue. In most cases, a spiral of silence occurs during political campaigns. It has to be an issue that covers a whole nation or the globe rather than a personal issue that affects a tiny section of society. The limitation of this theory is that we have individuals with minority opinions but are always on the social media platforms discussing their views and will still stand with what they believe.

There has been widespread adoption of social media throughout the world, therefore, leading to an increase in rates of access and sharing of media as well as having direct interactions with journalists. It has increased the speed in which news reaches the user because you no longer have to wait for specific times in which the story that interests will be released but can access the latest news on the social media handles of these broadcasters. It has made the user select what type of story interests him rather than look at every detail prepared for that period solely because it depends on what they are interested in and with whom they interact. It has led to an increased number of social media platforms that offer a wide variety of services to its consumers.

It results in more interaction and makes the consumers involved in relatively more engaging activities. Social media is an incidental exposure because one has to show an attraction towards certain information and will, therefore, seek to get more information. According to Broersma (2016), incidental news consumption has become a significant way of obtaining news. If one visits social media to seek private information, he will have access to various information that he did not intend to find. Further exposure when the people he has been communicating with comments or share links to another site. It can result in them learning from the news they are exposed to, making news consumption on social media educative. It affects their use as it attracts more significant attention to the desire to explore more on social media so that one can become more informed. It is still not clear how news and information obtained from social media is used and interpreted. It is because different people understand the information in unique ways. It will result in distortion of information because everyone will have their opinion.

Social media provides us with timely and sensational news, which ensures we are up to speed on the current situation that affects our lives. It has its disadvantages, which include fake news, which negatively affects people’s lives, but there is no denying that it is an advancement to the old methods of broadcasting. Soon, old ways of communication like the magazines will be rendered obsolete. More people turn to the internet as a source of information available all the time and is easily accessible from anywhere around the world. The reliance on social media for news and information will increase the adverse effects of fake news, which will harm those affected. It is a drawback to the passing of information and communication because social media has many limitations as sources of information. It also negatively impacts a person’s life, which is not the case in other methods such as magazines as the information provided is factual and cannot publish contents that are not proven. It shows that social media, as a source of information, needs to advance before it becomes reliable.


Broersma, M. (2018). Shedding light on the dark social: The connective role of news and journalism in social media communities. New media & society, 20(11), 4329-4345.

De Abreu, M. J. A. (2019). Medium Theory; or, “The War of the Worlds” at Regular Intervals. Current Anthropology, 60(5), 000.

Guerrero-Solé, F. (2016). On medium theory and the third-person effect. Observatorio (OBS*), 10(4), 166lpage-178.

Hampton,K. N., Raine., H., LU, W., Dwyer, M., Shin, I., & Purcell, K. (2014). Social media and the ’ spiral of silence’.

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