Lake Tahoe weather: What to know about storm updates on social media
January 19, 2017
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — It may have taken some people a bit longer than others to wake up and realize social media has changed everything, but after the recent election I think it's safe to say no one can doubt the power of Facebook.
Despite my current position as a newspaper reporter, you won't catch me trying to hand in my millennial card anytime soon. If there's one thing I've stressed since joining the team at the Sierra Sun this past summer, it's that we need to do more to utilize our social media accounts to both inform communities around the lake and encourage audience engagement.
I've seen local resorts, marketing teams and even government agencies slowly come around to that approach, too. And I think it's great, for the most part. If I can share a post from Caltrans or the California Highway Patrol that might help our followers with their commute, I'm happy to do so.
But not everything is so simple.
When a utility company or government agency posts an update to social media, be it Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, that update no longer appears at the top of a list for all followers to see. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have all now replaced that format with a mysterious algorithm — and have refused to publicly explain how that algorithm works. In other words, you see some posts from your friends and people you follow, but not all of them, and you can't always control which ones.
We don't know how social media sites choose what you see and what you don't. It isn't in chronological order, so if you've been without power for four days and you see a post about the power outage, it might actually be from a few days earlier. Sure, you could check the timestamp on the post or read the comments on it, but lots of people don't do that before sharing information online, and as a result, misinformation and outdated information spreads.