The news is older that journalism itself. The oldest form of social media is people spreading information about what is happening and who it is happening too to the circle of people they know.
For example, if spread of information is what ‘news’ essentially is, then Twitter is no different. It’s a real-time, rapid, wonderful ecosystem of information. Twitter is a living, breathing swirl of information and clutter. Clutter, that can, in essence, be cut down and trimmed according to individual needs.
The big question in and around the communications industry is how will social media have an effect on us?
People’s passions are amplified by social media. Twitter, for example, is no different: Canadian teen-throb, Justin Bieber is a trending topic on Twitter almost every single day because his army of just-turned-pubescent girls absolutely cannot get enough of him.
Twitter is an excellent indication, in real-time, of how the masses think, what they want or what they do not want. It’s also an indication about the future of journalism. Also, what social media can be defined as alongside other social media outlets such as YouTube.
Too often, there is this assumption that Twitter isn’t micro-blogging but rather equating Facebook’s status messages. This is simply not the case. Twitter is not about just posting information, there is an art to it. Believe it or not, yes, I said ‘art.’ Twitter opens up this world of global transparency.
In this world, individuals of similar minds can connect, learn and grow. With responsibility, letting oneself be vulnerable and open to change,Â using Twitter can lead to great things. (‘Great’ being subjective based on individual needs.)
Twitter is an extension of the press.
Think about it this way, everyone is a publisher in a real-time web written space.
In the visual space, YouTube can be accredited for socializing trends outside of the Internet. Before it’s launch in 2005, there were limited ways for people to post and view videos online. With an exceptionally simple interface and a readily available Internet connection, sensations and the cutting-edge were able to meet instantaneously in one single-space.
It’s possible to even say that because of YouTube’s creation, it has given way for the birth of the Internet celebrity: people who have been made famous because of the Internet.
Remember Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent singing “I Dreamed a Dream.” Her first album, released in November 2009, debuted as the number one best-selling album on charts around the globe. It also became Amazon’s best-selling album in pre-sales…ever.
Who would have ever imagined that thanks to a big voice and the Internet, the never been kissed Miss Boyle would have gone on, in only six weeks of sales, to selling the biggest selling album in the world for 2009 with 8.3 million copies.
It has to be rather flattering (or embarrassing) when Stephen Colbert can go on the 2010 Grammy Awards and say, “you may be the coolest people in the world, but this year your industry was saved by a 48-year-old Scottish cat lady in sensible shoes.”
The platform has also given root to aiding existing celebrities expand their fan base.
For example, Lady Gaga has over 1 billion YouTube video views — more than any other artist…ever. On April 14, 2010, her video “Bad Romance” became the number one most viewed video of all time on YouTube with approximately 200 millions views. In case you cannot fathom what that means, there were 200 million people living in the United States in 2000 and approximately 300 million as of 2010 (according to the US Census Bureau.)
That is a lot.
That’s the power of the internet; that’s the power of growth.
Now take those same trends and apply them to the ‘important’ things in life:
Like a story Ann Curry told at the 2010 140conf in New York City about Doctors Without Borders being unable to get supplies into Haiti because they couldn’t get in touch with Air Traffic Control. At the time, Air Traffic Control was being set up and managed by the US Air Force. When Doctors Without Borders tweeted about being unable to bring their supplies in, Ann Curry tweeted the US Military. That one tweet setup a firestorm, where after being retweeted numerous times, it got the attention of the US Military who, in turn, got Doctors Without Borders to land.
Even take something like the 2009 Iranian Presidential Election and the mass availability of images, video and information, through YouTube, FlickR, Twitter and Facebook, that would have never been possible without the use of the Internet and social media platforms.
Call it citizen journalism or call it trend-setting, call it whatever you want, but, there is a distinct and swift change brewing.
It will be interesting to see what the next “new” platforms are and how their impact will be rolled out thanks to their predecessors.
That’s where journalism and technology collide because that is the scale in which we live — change.
Sasha Muradali runs the â€˜Little Pink Bookâ€™ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida with a minor in Dance (â€™07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami (â€™08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the â€˜Little Pink Bookâ€™ delivered to your Kindle and donâ€™t forget to check out the Mad Women.