Pete Cashmore tweeted about this story on cnn.com.
The article states that according to scientists, receiving rapid news from sources such as Twitter, might numb our sense of morality and make us indifferent to human suffering.
Below are a few excerpts from the article, explaining what some scientists believe to be consequences of using tools like Twitter to get your news:
New findings show that the streams of information provided by social networking sites are too fast for the brain’s “moral compass” to process and could harm young people’s emotional development.
Before the brain can fully digest the anguish and suffering of a story, it is being bombarded by the next news bulletin or the latest Twitter update, according to a University of Southern California study.
“If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states and that would have implications for your morality,” said researcher Mary Helen Immordino-Yang.
I can agree with these scientists to a certain extent, but the research does not take into account the fact that many “tweets” are links to more in depth stories, allowing the user to take more time, if desired, to absorb and digest the information. Tweets regarding hard news stories, in particular, do seem to link to full stories the majority of the time.
One thing researchers must take into consideration is that there are many options as far as where people can get their news, and people will consume the stories that most interest them. On the other hand, with all the options out there, we cannot make people consume or even care about stories they are not interested in, regardless of how important they may be.
So…are we being desensitized by “fast news?” Pete Cashmore clearly does not think so. What do you think?