The Sugar-Sweet Positivity of Facebook vs. Shock and Awe Hype of the News

There’s a trend for Facebook users to present an almost irritatingly cheery image of life. The standard “news feed” of friends’ activities is littered with news of the latest engagements, babies’ first steps, graduations, etc.

Meanwhile, our friends in the professional news business (especially local TV news) seem to have the opposite approach to life. “Could your new kitten kill your children? Find out at ten!”

Why the contradiction? Why is it that when we write our own headlines we spin everything toward the positive, while the most popular news outlets do the opposite?

Does Facebook bring out the inner PR agent in each of us?

We carefully weed out only the best, most complimentary photos of ourselves and our family, share the high peaks of life, and minimize the low ones. Our grumpiest moments are converted into cryptic messages that only the closest friends can decipher: “Jane Doe is done.” But across the board, it seems that if something really great happens, you’ll see a photo album dedicated to its celebration.

All of this positive spin on our own lives made me wonder what would happen if skimming headlines of major news outlets read more like a Facebook news feed? Would anyone read the news? Or is cheery news only interesting when it comes from people we care about (along with those people from High School who we think we remember and can’t bring ourselves to “ignore”).

What would the alternate universe look like? Which approach do you prefer?

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