For everyone who has ever found themselves using TweetDeck, it is easy to draw parallels between sensationalism and Twitter.
For example, when the report of a possible gunman at Virginia Tech hit the Twitterverse in August, sensationalist posts flooded newsfeeds throughout the duration of the day. This caused the incident to be the topic of discussion long after speculation of a gunman had been put to rest. The velocity at which hard news travels via Twitter is as rapid as circulation of reports about Kim Kardashian’s divorce.
Twitter’s ability to turn news into sensationalism is glorified by its Trending Topics feature. By drawing attention to subjects that people are already heavily discussing, Twitter adds a sensationalistic factor to even the most serious news. However, according to Jeff Sonderman from Poynter, The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that: “News organizations use Twitter in limited ways — primarily as an added means to disseminate their own material. Both the sharing of outside content and engagement with followers are rare.”
This means that, although the public popularizes topics and sensationalizes the news via Twitter, news organizations are primarily using the social media website as a communityengagement tool. Luckily, this means that news organizations are using Twitter as a reliable resource for providing readers with the latest news! Phew!