An ignorant nation that doesn’t read: it social networks

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WASHINGTON,  February 2, 2013 — America has lost her way. The quick-fix, gotta-have-it-now, instant-gratification nation is floundering.

Why and how? 

While literally pointing our fingers left and right, we are no longer taking the time to research and get to the bottom of the true story.

Andrew Breitbart’s birthday was a time to remember an inspirational and courageous man. He never took on any opponent unprepared. Andrew did the research. He did not accept someone’s word for it, he looked for the deeper story and either debunked it or ran with it full force.


Citation or link: Normally provided within an article showing where it came from or where to find out more information.

What have we become?

We treat soundbites as the whole story, never taking the time to focus on reading anymore because we have to be the first to pass the story around the world wide web. The “gotcha-nation” is more interested in having that one up than actually reading the story.

When was the last time you followed the links provided in an article, or better yet, looked for a citation and followed that to another source? Andrew Breitbart demanded it from all of us, both the left and the right. But isn’t that a lost dream.  It means you have read the article.

These days we don’t even go to the article, just a quick read of the headline, and a like, and we are on to the next headline.  It’s all about that blasted headline or teaser we see on the social networks. It’s about being the first avatar to promote a story that everyone else likes.  Being number one.

NOTE TO SOCIALLY ACTIVE AMERICA: There is way more to a story than what you are told on the evening or morning news, or a 140 character tweet, or a thumbnail with a teaser.

Andrew Breitbart proved that the truth now comes from Citizen Journalists, not from the mainstream media. And the truth is out there – if you just click the link, before you share. 

Our news are quick bites scanned from social sharing. Actually going to the site where the story was written is unheard of. Social shares versus site shares are more proof that we are a soundbite nation. We are quick to promote or ignore a story based on the headline rather than actually taking the time to go read what the writer had to say. We see stories with thousands of social shares, but few actual reads. 

Social Share: Shared within a social network, never read on the website, never giving the writer any time or page-views on the actual article, e.g., clicking share from Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Site Share: Going to the article (even if you don’t read it), thus giving a page-view to the article’s writer. Clicking share from the article itself or grabbing the url and bringing it back to the place where you are trying to share.

If you are social networking to help spread awareness or the word about a political issue, why wouldn’t you want to take the time to go to the article and check it out to see what’s in it? Oh wait, “you have to share it before you can find out what’s in it.” 

It is a sad day for this nation when we stoop to the level of just reading headlines. There was a time when we weren’t so ignorant, when a headline, pulled us into the story being written.  We read it, we gathered information. Learned something. These days we use every excuse under the sun not to read it. Don’t have time; I am able to get the story from the tease – at least enough for a watercooler comment.

But what if you read an article. You might disagree with the author and low and behold, a quick search can lead to more information. You might cement your argument or learn something new.  Either way, you become a part of the conversation, versus the share.

NOTE: If you do not believe what you are reading and there are no links to actual sources with information, then the chances are you need to look further, or better yet, don’t believe it! It’s okay to not believe everything you hear, see or read.

Today people are quick to throw each other under the bus over a comment or petty disagreement, and nine times out of ten it’s over a soundbite — something we didn’t even take the time to research. It’s not just liberals, it’s not just conservatives; both sides of this argument are guilty. Both sides need to spend more time finding fact-based information and less time acting like ignorant, soundbite headline grabbers.

Andrew rarely promoted his own work; he instead promoted all of us who had less of a voice than he had. “Andrew built others up. He expended more of his energy promoting others than he did himself. — Brandon Darby

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  • Sandra Goetz

    very true.

  • Tami Nantz

    wonderful tribute to Andrew, Tanya. He was 100% about telling the unvarnished truth. His example is one we should all learn from!

  • John Swetland

    Peeling back the onion, to find whether it’s sweet or if it’s rotten, is wise before one chops it up for a salad. Great job Tanya!!! We all should dig a bit deeper!

  • Sandra Stanislav

    in some areas I will not research the article due to the fact I know it is probably true and I feel helpless about it. just like amnesty. I am totally against it and have let every one in the political scene know I am not for it. but when the dust settles and the smoke clears I will not have a say in it any more than I have a say in any form of government any more.

  • By far the best article I have read all week.

  • Bhekuzulu Khumalo

    Wonderful stuff, so true everyone guilty, great article

  • Mike

    sharing this article with the very people who will never follow a link or read an article is effort in futility isn’t it. the only thing that will wake up the 85% is the tanks rolling into their neighborhoods and even then they will turn on their TV that is telling everyone that it was just swamp gas and they are not seeing real tanks and they will go on with their routines like nothing is happening. this is the problem in America right now, 85% are completely asleep and lost and you can not wake them no matter how hard you shake them. I know I have been shaking them for 10 yrs so good luck ya’ll

  • Michelle

    Great Article, This is one of my biggest frustrations..Its seen so often, everywhere!You only get bits of a story..then everywhere ppl talking about a topic,based off a selected sentence or statement. I am constantly saying” NO..thats taken out of context,or NO ….you didnt finish the rest of the story,you left off part of the info..etc.” ;sadly to later be turned into an opinion piece geared toward hype..or scandle,gossip. rare you get a good indepth story, with facts…great article!!

  • Dianne Molander

    r.i.p. Andrew

  • Joy Evenson

    great article and so true.. thank you!

  • Paulita Gilberto

    I almost always read the article, but i got a post from a trusted source that the halftime show of the Superbowl would have another mass gay wedding & passed it on before researching it. I’m sorry to anyone that got that link because nobody ever posted back that it was wrong. I hope nobody missed the game because of me.

  • 21st Century Pacifist

    How true. I find that many will voice a fact and when investigated either the person read it wrong or didn’t read the source at all. Unfortunately in the days of information bombardment, most can’t keep up. We need either better readers or more quiet people.