The way that radio and the internet have been treated by the government and service providers are eerily similar, yet vastly different. They are similar in that they are both under the authority of the FCC and its policies. Title 47 under the Code of Federal Regulations restricts everything radio communication encompasses, including antenna construction or rights given to employees. Like the internet, radio is influenced by the advertisers who invest in their broadcasting and they tend to advertise leaning toward the interests of that governing body. If you are listening to KFI AM640 in the morning on your way to work, which is a conservative news broadcast, you’re more likely to hear pro-life information than you are you hear a campaign program supporting Nancy Pelosi.
The internet was designed to be federal technology which was then released to the world and the government didn’t influence it one way or another. Today, we are struggling to find ways to keep the internet a fair space that provides for society, but websites like Facebook are changing the rules. I was recently proven that during the 2016 Presidential election, Mark Zuckerberg wrote a letter to the Democratic National Convention where he asked the democratic officials what he could do to help them win. They then gave him the task of censoring certain important names, places, and dates from the Facebook users. Since Facebook is a privately owned company, there was no regulation that could be placed on this censorship.
The first step to finding a productive way to regulate radio and the Internet is to see how people lived their lives before those services existed. Radio was the first wireless connection people had to one another, it is so deeply entrenched into our nation’s history. There are radios in almost every car and they remain relevant today because of sports, news, and advertisements. The internet was a huge adjustment for society, but we have also changed our skillsets in response to the convenience it allows for. You don’t even really need to leave your home for work, school, or grocery shopping in society today, why go to Albertsons when you can order it online instead?
In the digital era of today with social media and a rapid-fire information frequently coming at us from all angles, I think it’s safe to say that traditional gatekeepers are approaching an end.
The Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual study conducted to find how the public perceives government, business, non government organizations, and media. The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer shows the general public distrusts government and media, and the informed public has low, neutral trust. The increase of news shared on social medias may have a part in this, especially with organizational and platform gatekeepers not being able to keep up with who shares what information about which story. Despite the global population not entirely trusting the media, we are gatekeepers for ourselves and the people that follow or friend us. So it is up to us to make sure we thoroughly read and check articles and facts before sharing them to our page for everyone else to see.
Back in my junior year of high school, I gave up social media for Lent. It is seen as tradition to give up things during Lent that are seen as a luxury, such as chocolates or watching TV. After Easter came around and Lent was over, I didn’t bother re-downloading Twitter or Facebook because I noticed my feed on both platforms were incredibly negative and toxic to my mental health. I was so much happier without those two medias and didn’t use them for years. Although I still haven’t been on Twitter, I did start using Facebook again and made the effort to like pages with more positivity and pages that I had interest in, rather than liking pages to follow the band wagon.
Aside from the insane computer algorithms Google and Facebook use, that spook me more than I’d like to admit, I am my own gatekeeper. Thanks to fancy settings in most social media platforms, I have the ability to block content I don’t want to see, hide content from specific users, or request to see different advertisements. However, as our own gatekeepers it is important to allow content from different perspectives to get through to us so we can try to have well-rounded knowledge on various stories. As our own gatekeepers, and as the gatekeepers for those who follow or friend us, it is our job to share reliable sources of information. It is our job to redefine gatekeeping and keep it alive.
In today’s world there are hundreds of millions of new posts, tweets, blogs, and articles every day but who is supposed to watch it. Gatekeepers were the guardians that would allow or not allow certain messages to reach everyday people but that was in the good old days. Now there is too much content spreading out every single second that it is impossible for the traditional gatekeepers to do anything about it. On social media, it is up to us now. We must be the ones to decide what is good or what is bad, what is truth or what is fake, or what is appropriate or what is inappropriate. Look at Twitter for instance, I have a lot of friends who tweet out stupid stuff all the time and the only people who is willing to do something about it is either him/her, their friends, or someone who is extremely outraged and reports it and has it taken down. The problem with this is that it has already been posted, people have already seen it and the damage has been done. We are all gatekeepers and we all get to choose what we want or don’t want to see.
Gatekeeping has been around for a long time, since the start
of the free press. As we have transitioned into the digital era, gatekeeping
has evolved into a more complex way that we see, hear and view media. With new
algorithms that decide what media we see on social media, to all of the outlets
that decide what we see, it is constantly evolving with technology and how fast
we consume media.
Gatekeepers that affect my media are CNN, the digital
versions of LA & NY Times, and various article sites on social media for websites,
issues, and other various topics that I follow. I would say the news sources
that I use for political and societal information do influence my reality, and
it was weird going a period of time without knowing what was going on. With the
way technology has helped us consume media faster, being off your phone or computer
for an extended period of time can really change what you know. For example, I knew
within minutes of the rest of the world knowing/firefighters arriving that
Notre Dame was on fire and collapsing, and still getting live coverage.
The role I play as a gatekeeper would be mainly from my
social media accounts such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I choose what
information I share with my followers, and I also choose who I follow and what
media I myself consume, so in a way it could be reverse gatekeeping. By
choosing the information I post and consume, I am setting the pace for my own
If you talked about gatekeeping 15 years ago versus today,
they would be two completely different things. Back then, news and press
releases were sent to journalists. Those individuals would decide what was interesting
enough or not to make it into the paper or onto television that night. Nowadays,
journalists have no control whatsoever on what information gets out into the
public. Anyone can post information or share information with one another by
I definitely have a role in what gatekeeping goes on in my side of the internet. Google, Instagram, and Facebook all algorithms to make my feed personalized into what they think I would be most interested in seeing. I also share what I think is most interesting to me, and that pops up on other peoples feeds as well. Sometimes it’s tough to see credible information since there are so many web publishers trying to say the same thing, that sometimes you don’t even know where they got the information from in the first place. It’s important to be out on the lookout for fake news, by looking at what kind of website is publishing the article; seeing if they’re a credible source or not, and make sure that the author is also credible. People these days are so easy in the sense that they will believe anything they read, without checking for facts first. Fake news can be spread so quickly, so next time you want to rant on Facebook about politics, make sure that your ducks are in a row and that your information is correct!
Because of the rise of the digital age and social media, gatekeeping has completely changed. Gatekeeping is the process of determining what information is released, and how it is released. But, with social media, anything and everything is released as the users pleases. I don’t think that gatekeeping is a thing of the past because of this, I just think that there may be some new keepers of the gate. In society today, we are our own gatekeepers, and it’s no longer the journalists or reporters. When you go on a site like twitter, there are thousands and millions of information that is being sent out every second, and we get to decide what information we want to see and how credible we think it is. Because we can do this, we are the ones that influence our social reality. Before social media, you would only be able read and hear about what credible sources like the Times were deciding to release. Now, depending on what your interests are, that’s the news that you decide to and end up seeing. Let’s say you love watching makeup videos, chances are you know all about the James Charles scandal that’s happening right now, because that to you, is newsworthy and worthy of passing the gate. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t even know who James Charles is, is probably not getting information about him on their timeline. With the digital era, we are allowed to be our own gatekeepers and that has its pros and cons. We get to decide what media we would like to consume, but that also leaves out opportunities for us to be enlightened on other issues going on in the world. Obviously, if you really wanted to know something credible and relevant, you could just Google it and find out more, but it’s not on our front porch in front of our face every morning like it used to be.
In today’s society, social media effects a lot of things around us, without anyone even realizing it. The way we talk and dress, the places we choose to eat, and the shows we decide to watch, along with so many other things, are all influenced by others and how they are portrayed on social media platforms. This has been the case since before social media though, with magazines and newspapers, but now that anyone can post about anything, we see so many varying views. Gatekeeping is not very relevant when it comes to social media because most people have access to post whatever they please. The only real forms of gatekeeping in these instances would be reporting a post you do not agree with, to have it removed, but even then, it was still most likely viewed by one or even multiple people. Personally, I believe the people that I choose to follow and associate myself with on social media are the ones who affect my media consumption the most. I see ways to style outfits, new things to cook, new places to eat, and new things to do. I understand that we are all gatekeepers in our own ways, but it is up to the consumer, or reader, to depict what is real and what is fake news.