With the rising of social media networks like Facebook and Myspace, today’s users often are unaware of the long existence of social media. Social networks extend beyond the webspace and technological world, and include everything as simple as the word of mouth. In a December 29, 2011 edition of The Economist, an anonymous writer explains the effectiveness of even past forms of social media in the spreading of ideals, which led to historical reformations, as seen with Martin Luther.
The most noticeable aspect of this article is the lack of an author. It was a well written piece, so why was their no credit given to the writer? It was not only this article that was written anonymously, but all of the works produced by The Economist. According to their “About Us” page, The Economist believes in collaborative pieces that show their belief in, “what is written is more important than who writes it.” The thoughts behind this process seem innocent enough, but readers should be wary of what they read from a source with nobody to take responsibility for what is written.
Although they refer to themselves as a newspaper, The Economist acknowledges that they are opinionated and analytical. They only refer to themselves as a newspaper because, in their opinionated analysis of a topic, they cover important events in the economic and political world. Therefore, despite acquiring knowledge of a topic, a reader should only read these articles if they are prepared to be persuaded or ready to question what is written. Although many news organizations provide biased articles, The Economist intentionally does this in order to give their insights on certain topics; In this case, the power of social media in provoking necessary changes.
When reading The Economist, many topics and articles contain very conservative ideals. Although they claim to also back many liberal topics, the majority of subjects supported are known to be very conservative. This does not mean that the articles provided are of low quality, but that many liberal topics may not be covered unless there is a way to argue against it. As seen in “How Luther Went Viral”, the idea of freedom of speech and anti-government intervention is supported. The anonymous author uses anecdotes of how Martin Luther was able to change corruption of Catholic churches via pamphlets and oral transmissions, as well as how disliked Arabian rulers were only able to be overthrown through the help of expression by using Facebook.
The Economist covers a vast array of stories related to economics and politics, and their articles are informative in teaching the reader. However, unless cautious when reading, the reader may be oblivious to the conservative views incorporated. The company is not shy in admitting, and sometimes even bragging, about their use of opinion and analysis, and depending on the reader, this may be beneficial. However, to many readers, biased views may distort the facts or only present one side of a topic.
Economist. (2011, Dec 29). How Luther went viral. Retrieved from
About Us. The Economist. Retrieved from