Posted by: Erin Stutesman | October 8, 2016

News Engagement Across Generations

During the first week of class, it was mentioned that Facebook is now the top source of news in the United States. Given that fact, this Washington Post story caught my eye. The writers conducted an experiment where they checked Facebook every hour and recorded the trending news, which is determined by an algorithm. This has been a controversial issue recently as many question the ability of a left-leaning company to present the news objectively.

I selected four individuals to describe this story to, and who I know to have different media platform preferences: My sister (26, prefers social media sites), my husband (28, radio), my mom (58, nightly news and social media), and my grandma (87, nightly news and physical newspapers). My mom and sister are the two most in-tune with social media, so it was fairly easy to explain the story to them. My husband is not a big Facebook user, but he checks it often enough to understand the situation.

As I anticipated, my grandma was the most challenging, as her understanding of social media is limited. While telling it to her, I avoided social media jargon such as “trending,” or anything regarding Facebook’s layout, like “side bar,” as those are specific to the user experience. I also realized that she is of a generation that was not taught to be suspicious of the news. She sees the media as an authoritative body, while my peers are much more cynical.

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