“Social Journalism” : Social Networking Technologies

KONY2012 swept my Facebook timeline as the YouTube video spread to over 50 million viewers in just a week of being posted. Similarly, my friends were uploading pictures of themselves  in hoodies on networks such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook in honor of Trayvon Martin. Before hearing any news about Trayvon, I had no idea why everyone was uploading hoodie pictures. Hence, there I was caught in the middle of viral media with a clear lack of knowledge.

I want you to think back to the first moment you became aware of KONY2012 and Trayvon Martin. Now I want you to trace back to the source by which you were made aware of these topics, narrowing it down to either mainstream news or social media. Personally, I know I first encountered both of these stories via Facebook and Twitter prior to catching them on Fox 45 News at 5.

However, while technology is making jobs in the fields such as journalism redundant, I’m a perfect example of why traditional methods of reporting are still important.

According to a blog called Simply Zesty, there are 10 industries that will be revolutionized by social media –print media, politics, television, hospitality, sports, music, recruitment, advertising, PR, and shopping. With the availability of tools such as YouTube, the power to create, publish and syndicate content no longer resides in just the hands of journalists and news publishers.

I recently ran across an executive blog that explores the interaction between the internet and the news industry. The fifth paragraph of this blog interestingly states, “Information is not journalism…You get a lot of things, when you open up Twitter in the morning, but not journalism. Journalism [is] discipline, analysis, explanation and context and therefore […] is still a profession. The value that gets added with journalism is judgment, analysis and explanation – and that makes the difference.”

However, my generation is less interested in the “know-it-all” story telling methods. Instead, they are obsessed with what gets the most likes on Facebook or what a new trending topic on Twitter becomes.  By receiving news via social networks, we have the ability to make up our own minds and get what we need through the web without the hassle of the middleman.

Social media has created a two way street between journalists and the people. No longer are journalists solely depended on research; they are also left to sift through social networking sites, online discussions and blogs. 

Yes, social media has changed the basic ways by which we communicate however “the core foundation of journalism cannot be forgotten. Journalists have a duty to the public and that duty is to tell a credible, factual, and compelling story using various channels.”

However, journalists must also understand that they are constantly competing with social media. The media is ultimately driven by the people who both send and receive it. Journalists being removed from the equation is as redundant as re-implementing the carrier pigeon method.

Just like the old saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them!”

Sayonara journalism! Hello “social media journalism!”

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