Trading Credibility for a Facebook Education

Are we allowing our social media presence to cultivate a credible reputation for ourselves?

Gone are the days of telegraphs, the Pony Express and newspapers. We no longer rely on print news as our main media sources. Rather, we share articles on Facebook, “retweet” Twitter posts, and engage in semi-educated discussions on social media. We live in an age where quick and easy-to-access internet sites are our source of information.

Losing our credibility

Simply sharing articles on Facebook or retweeting clickbait, though often done with right intent, will never actually change the world. Very possibly, half of the politically related articles on Facebook are either fake or completely irrelevant. We’re losing the days in which we read news from credible sources.

During high school, I competed in team policy debate. One of the most important aspects to creating a winning case was having credible sources. I won many rounds simply by pointing out that the opposing team’s evidence was taken from non-credible sources.

Credibility is key not only in debate, but also in life.

When we carelessly share information regarding political issues and human rights, or ethical issues – from non-credible sources – not only are we sharing false information, but we hurt our own credibility. We no longer seek to educate ourselves from real news sources, and rather, we have become “Facebook educated.”

It’s irresponsible and disconcerting. It’s irresponsible that we hide behind our keyboards while lashing out with aggressive rhetoric. It’s disconcerting that we feel entitled enough to carelessly type our opinions on social media while sharing non-credible news sources to back our points.

Sensationalism get’s us nowhere

The refugee crisis is not going to be solved by typing a 200-word status regarding the issue. I am all for freedom of speech; this is America. But when we start quoting articles from sites called Buzzfeed, CAFE, and InfoWars regarding issues of immigration and the like, we are only hurting our own credibility. We are not bettering the world – or ourselves – by attaching non-credible sources to our ill-informed messages.

Facebook wasn’t created to facilitate political discussions or to educate us on the political happenings in the world. No, it was designed for us to stay connected with our family and friends.

What really matters

There are a few things in life that truly matter. Our credibility as people is one of them. We must be wise in what we do and what we say. Sadly, many of us act like we believe social media is our soapbox: our voice for the helpless, our vehicle for change. Sharing our opinions on Facebook or Twitter isn’t going to change the world or increase our credibility. I believe it will do the opposite.

Sadly, I’ve seen how our uneducated opinions create divides among our families, our friends, and even the American people. Our credibility should not be defined by opinions posted to Facebook, but rather, through actions and words stemming from a well-rounded education.

“For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.” 2 Corinthians 8:21 (ESV)

Madeline Ferrante is a staff writer for The Daily Runner.