Everyday social media users ought to be avoided as source of legitimate news
March 10, 2016
In the past week, there has been a lot of stress and worry about the current budget issues facing the UW-River Falls College of Arts and Sciences. Information has been circulating, mainly by word of mouth, about how much money the college overspent by and the cuts that will be the result of that. Members of faculty are worried about losing their jobs while students are concerned about possibly not being able to finish their majors or minors due to the cutting of classes and department funds. Everyone seems to be stricken with worry and lost in a confusion of misinformation.
With feelings wounded and worry setting in, students have flocked to social media, especially the anonymous world of Yik Yak, to voice their concern and spread the information that they have heard. On a recent post, someone began to spread the rumor that the whole political science department was going to be cut and therefore political science majors would have to transfer to complete their major. In another, someone asked why the College of Arts and Sciences didn’t just take money from the football team to avoid cuts, which just isn't feasible. The misinformation when it comes to how budgeting works and the repercussions of this mistake has led to a further feeling of uncertainty throughout this university as people worry about their future.
Although a flow of information can bring to light news and opinions, in a situation where nothing is set in stone, the spread of false information in a format where nobody is responsible for what they say and credibility is shot will only cause more panic and trouble. Our advice? Take a breath and stay tuned. Things are still being decided, and the correct information will present itself. Don’t rely simply on social media and unverified sources for information on something as important as this. Stick to social media for gossip about Kim Kardashian and leave it at that. Chances are the anonymous person posting is just as confused as you are.