Social Media: What Did We Do Before?
I was working a long 9 hour shift today making pizzas, which isn’t exactly a career plan, but helps with the college savings. As I was going through the day, though, things kept happening that made me think “I should tweet that,” or “That’d be a funny Facebook status.”
Having these thoughts every little while made me realize how much social media has integrated not just into society but into our minds. Social media, at least for me, has eliminated much of the idle texting or IMing between two individuals and put it on a more mass level. Instead of texting someone to tell them that I just watched “the best movie ever,” I can post a tweet or a Facebook status commenting on the movie.
Some people would arugue that this mass life-sharing brought on by social media is a bad thing. It is true that it’s not all positive, but I would argue that this mass sharing can help streamline many things. For example, instead of texting or calling around to friends or checking out movie reviews from some person I don’t know, I have already heard that Pixar’s new movie Up is really good, in fact I haven’t heard a bad review. So instead of finding the first person I could who had seen the movie and hearing only their opinion, I was able to hear the opinions of more than ten people.
Not only can Social Media help with issues such as choosing a movie, but it can also streamline the spreading of news and information. When an event happens, it is much quicker for me to log into Twitter and find someone who is tweeting right from the scene or find a blog with a first-hand desciption of what happened than it is for a news reporter to get to the scene and conduct an interview then edit it together.
While these benefits are definitely present in social media, they also cause a downfall for news in general. Social media is a great way for many people to report and read about a large, widely known event. For example, when there is a disasterous earthquake in California or a terrorist attack somewhere, social media is a great way to get a live feed from the scene. The issue, though, is that the big stories that are harder to find go unnoticed by tweeters and bloggers. Even when they are noticed, they often won’t get the publicity they need. Think back to Watergate. The first ammendment gave Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward the right to investigate what happened.
Imagine if Watergate happened in the world people are talking about in which news print no longer exists and all news is produced by bloggers and other social media sources. It would be very hard for a blogger to go to someone’s door and ask them about their covert plans to break into Watergate. It would be very hard for an anonymous source to come forward and contact a blogger with vital information for a story.
Though newspapers and magazines may not be the best way to produce the more obscure news stories, some system must be put into place in which reporters with a reputable, financially stable organization behind them can explore, formulate, and properly report a story. Some think that print must die quickly, creating a news vaccum which will be filled by an updated, more sensible system for news production.
Whatever the case, Journalism 2.0 is on its way. My guess would be that social media will play a large part in it. There are simply too many people using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media sites for them to be ignored.
The question is: How will we produce valuable, thorough news when newsprint inevitably dies?
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