Twitter has been the primary medium for sharing news regarding the presidential election and transition. This social media tool can be effective for gaining multiple perspectives on a topic or cause. The challenge with Twitter is in how to use it so the information you are receiving is reliable. How do we separate the wheat from the chaff?
My suggestion: Create a Twitter list. You don’t even have to follow people or organizations to put them on a list. Here’s how:
- Select “lists” within the menu under your Twitter profile picture.
- Scroll down and select “Create New List”.
- Select a hashtag relevant to the topic of interest, such as #WomensMarch. Find people on Twitter who are reporting information and offering commentary (versus simply stating opinions on a topic).
Often journalists and news organizations will have a blue check next to their profile picture. This means they are verified Twitter accounts and have a broader audience on important topics.
Once you find sources that are reliable for media coverage, select their profile and add them to a new list. You can create a new list when you start looking on Twitter. There is no need to follow them if you prefer not.
- Start reading your Twitter list.
The easiest way is to select the list within your Twitter account and read the feed. When posts are retweeted within the feed by those you’ve listed, this can be an opportunity to add more reliable media sources to your list.
If you read on an tablet or smartphone, I suggest downloading Flipboard to read your Reliable Media Sources list. This free application offers a more visually appealing way to read tweets. You can still access Twitter through Flipboard.
If all of this is too much, you can also simply follow my reliable media sources list. Click here to follow. One caution: Avoid reading these list feeds constantly. News reports can become all consuming, even when the sources are valid. We need to live in the real world so that we have some grounding in reality and be a part of our communities.
In an age where the credibility of the press is openly questioned, it is more important than ever to know how to navigate the information available and decide which sources are most reliable. Fake news does exist. Yet it is up to the reader to determine what sources can be counted upon for facts. A more informed public is the best way to combat misinformation.