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Cutting the Cord: 'The video selfie that changed the world'

July 19,2016 17:10

Facebook and Twitter have already become go-to news sources. Their importance, and that of other social media networks, in the spread of news is only likely to grow as smartphones become the dominant video device and pay-TV subscriptions slowly ...and more »

Facebook and Twitter have already become go-to news sources.Their importance, and that of other social media networks, in the spread of news is only likely to grow as smartphones become the dominant video device and pay-TV subscriptions slowly decline.The impact of breaking news delivered on social networks became unmistakable two weeks ago amid a spate of violence that included two shootings of black men by police and a subsequent sniper attack targeting Dallas police officers.With the Republican and Democratic conventions coming over the next two weeks, your Facebook, Twitter and other social networks will be abuzz with breaking news.But reliance on social media for your news may mean that you are not getting the whole story. That trend, if allowed to spread, could lead to a less-informed public, something that can weaken a democracy.As of now, Americans remain interested in news. Nearly three-fourths (72%) of U.S. adults have gotten news on a mobile device, up from 54% in 2013, a recent Pew Research Center survey found. More than half (57%) watch TV news, although the younger the adult, the more likely they skip TV news — only 27% of those ages 18-29 watch TV news. Nearly twice as many adults (38%) often turn to social media, apps or websites for news, as opposed to newspapers (20%)So it's important to remember that some recent Facebook changes may result in less news and more family and friends posts bubbling up. However, you can improve Facebook and your social media feeds by friending, liking or following local or national news outlets. "I see people very purposefully curating their news feed on different social media," said Jessica Pucci, a professor at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.Students may focus Facebook on family and national news, for instance, while using Twitter for journalism and media updates, she said. "You still have to purposefully seek out news," Pucci said. "Certainly, it's easier today when you can just click on your phone and you’ve got some notifications and you click on Facebook. That's still an action and something you have done proactively, just as you have to actually turn on the TV ... (or) buy a newspaper."And curating your social media feeds is critical because relying only on raw video and stories shared by friends can give you a closeted world view. Individual tweets and raw video clips are "not the entire story," said Shelly Palmer, managing director of Palmer Advanced Media, a digital media and technology advising and consulting firm.In a column posted on LinkedIn, he proclaimed Diamond Reynolds' Facebook Live video documenting the July 6 traffic stop that resulted in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, her boyfriend, as "The video selfie that changed the world." "This idea we are going to see it live, but we’re not going to see all of it, makes this a pretty fascinating turning point from a technological standpoint," he said.By customizing our social feeds, we can choose to only hear from people and outlets that reinforce our worldview. "So in order for you to get fair and balanced news in the true sense of the word," Palmer said, "you need to listen to blue states through a blue filter and red states through a red filter."A screen grab from the Watchup app news on tablet. (Photo: Watchup)For more coverage, you can stay connected with most news organizations — ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC included — via apps on mobile and other Net TV devices. For news from a local perspective, two free news apps, Watchup and NewsON, collect more than 100 local TV stations on smartphones, tablets and connected devices such as Roku.A screen grab from the NewsON app on a tablet. (Photo: NewsON)As for your social networks, the next time that high school or college pal posts something a bit too far left or right of your political stance, think before you unfriend or unfollow them. By staying connected you are, in a fashion, doing your civic duty."Cutting the Cord" is a regular column covering Net TV and ways to get it. If you have suggestions or questions, contact Mike Snider at msnider@usatoday.com. And follow him on Twitter: @MikeSnider.Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/29R7Wg6

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