Do Nonprofits have unrestricted access to information? Looking at how information works in 2023, it seems unlikely.
In 2016 Paulette Jiles published a novel, News of the World. It tells of the journey of Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd and his companion, Joanna. They travelled through Texas and gave newspaper readings to townspeople throughout 1870s Texas.
Fast forward to 2023, and the world has changed. There are many sources of information, and people can make up their own minds. Information can also be manipulated.
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines information as “knowledge you get about someone, something, facts or details about a subject” (https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/information).
We use the information to make informed decisions. Other reasons include the following:
When you search for cameras on Google, consider all the targeted advertising on Facebook when searching for a new camera.
Social Media algorithms and NewsGPT are two variables to remember when designing posts.
Social media algorithms are instructions a computer programme follows to solve a problem. Algorithms determine what content is shown to users and in what order.
When deciding what content to offer each user, algorithms use user behaviour, content relevance, and engagement. It comprises the person’s previous likes, comments, and shares, the type of content and the time it was posted.
Whoever develops the algorithm sets the agenda for what people read and influences opinions. Hootsuite published a blog explaining algorisms.
Here are guidelines for the SMM when dealing with algorithms:
Read the full article here: https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-algorithm/
Another variable is the launch of NewsGPT in March 2023. It is the first news channel generated by artificial intelligence. Their tagline says, “no reporters, no fake news”.
NewsGPT’s algorithm scans news websites, government agencies and social media to curate news stories that they claim are “up-to-date and unbiased”.
We know that media houses function within defined systems. Compare reporting from three media houses, Media24, Independent Media and Maroela Media. These publications support different political ideologies. Those who pay the piper call the tune that comes to mind.
Simply put, when NewsGPT scans online and social media platforms, it does not happen without human interference. Humans write news and social media posts. Between social media algorithms and NewsGPT, NPOs can ensure that information that reaches the public domain is trustworthy.
Thus, a junior communicator or intern should not be burdened with messaging and algorithms. It is the SSM’s responsibility. They have to concern about the following:
Captain Jefferson read newspapers to the people and thereby distributed information. Media houses of the 1870s probably influenced people’s opinions through their writings. Maybe even more so than today because alternative ideas were only uttered in smokey drawing rooms. The man (or woman) in the street was not privy to multiple views.
As a thought, I would like to follow in Captain Jefferson’s footsteps and do news readings to improve access to information for the NPO sector. 😊