By: Kerry Loughran
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.