News on social media has strayed from the important news

When did pop singers become more interesting than humanitarian crises?

More stories from Ryan Huling


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The wildfires in California burn the most acreage in history of the state but this isn’t front page news on Twitter moments.

When it comes to the news society takes in, almost two-thirds of United States citizens get their news from social media. Whether it is every once in a while or daily, many people citizens rely on Facebook, Twitter and many other such platforms for their source of newsworthy information. Has the news, however, been relaying the unimportant information?

As a Twitter user, Twitter moments is a hub to find out what is popular at any given time. If a user doesn’t follow reliable news sources like National Public Radio or Associated Press, they only consume a gathering of mostly accurate information wrapped up in a little package on a given topic. The choice of topic, however, isn’t always the most important.

For the past month, I expect and am met with multiple Twitter moments regarding Ariana Grande and her hair choices or whom she took a photo with last. As much as I understand the recent stardom of the pop singer and her short-lived engagement with comedian Pete Davidson, I don’t understand why there is more news about her than news such as the California wildfires. These fires, which have burned over 1.6 million acres of land, still aren’t fully contained, yet I see updates on them only once every few days.

In Yemen, there is a deadly civil war that has been going on since 2015. The United States has been regularly launching airstrikes in Yemen and has sent in ground troops to combat ISIS targets in the country. Earlier Wednesday, it was revealed by BBC that an estimated 85 thousand children have died from malnutrition. That doesn’t even account for the estimated 50 thousand that have died from the conflict itself.

The famine, combined with the ongoing civil war, has created a humanitarian crisis in Yemen and yet this is the first time in months anything related to the country has been on Twitter moments. In fact, that moment was replaced on my Twitter feed less than an hour later by a story about a college school student describing an animal cell using members of the K-pop group BTS.

Hearing about tragedy is never on someone’s priority list, but it is important to be aware of what’s happening across the world, especially when it regards the country you live in. I’m not against hearing about what’s going on with Lady Gaga after the success of her recent movie or how fans are reacting to a brand new Drake album. I’m sure many people aren’t against the idea of lighthearted news running alongside the important information. Nevertheless, the important news should be top-of-the-page until it’s not a crisis anymore.

If we’re honest with ourselves when it comes to caring about people, it is important society is unanimously educated about the hard-hitting topics. As funny as the “what is Aleppo?” moment was with former presidential candidate Gary Johnson, it’s too close to reality with many U.S. citizens.

It is time priority takes priority over popularity on social media.

Huling can be reached at [email protected]