With social networking sites increasing in popularity over the years, so is the number of people who use their profile as a way to express their opinions on certain issues and/or events occurring in the world. I am not one to constantly tweet about serious issues or my opinion on events and situations, but once in a while I do. I don’t post status’ on Facebook anymore either, however, I do read my Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis, and get to see what everyone else writes. It’s funny because someone that I don’t know very well, I can know their opinion on many issues because of what they tweet. I know who is a feminist, I know who is supporting gay marriage or not, I know who wants to legalize marijuana. For me, social networks allow me to express my opinion if I really want to, but I am not the kind of person to constantly show people what I am thinking. However, there are some people that I see take full advantage of the idea of citizen journalism with their social networks and I think that’s a good thing. It allows people to discover how good of a writer they are or could be, and shows others that they do have the potential.
For actual journalists, social networks can be a problem. Whenever something happens, I find out about it through social networks. I know who wins a sports game, what games are on that night, what crimes have happened nearby, what natural disasters are occurring –all through my Twitter feed. I will turn to journal articles when I want a more detailed description of an event, which I will usually find from a link on Twitter through a news channel such as CP24. As said in the Hermida (2012) article, “by 2010, all but one of the top 198 newspapers and TV stations in the United States had an official Twitter account” (pg. 662). This can be one of the ways technology and social media has helped journalists become more known. In this article, it is also mentioned that Twitter users and those who post tweets about recent issues, they take on the role of being “social sensors of the news” (663). They tweet and act as a warning for breaking news journalists, which then gives the journalist a chance to go off of that and give us the full story. Journalists as professionals though, are under a lot of pressure with deciding on what news is appropriate to print (pg. 661, Hermida). With so many social network users posting the news and going into their own detail of what they know about a story, I think it creates competition for professional journalists. Especially since many social network users are not professionals, however they are very good writers and can write an impressive blog entry regarding an issue. This is why in the Bruns and Highfield (2012) article, they say “technology has played an important role as disruptor and enabler” (pg.1). With new technology, it allows journalists to gain information and understand others perspectives and opinions much easier, but it can create competition and puts pressure on the journalist to write an article with information that hasn’t been seen so much already. We count on journalists to write an article that will intrigue us, but if we have learnt all the information about an event already through blogs, Twitter and Facebook, it can be difficult to write an article that will catch the public’s attention.
Overall, depending on the type of person you are, technology will help with citizen journalism and allow someone to be a social activist. People like me who aren’t as much into posting our opinions on the internet will not be affected as much.
Bruns, A. & T. Highfield. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. pre-publication draft on personal site [Snurb.info]. Published in: Lind, R. A. ed. (2012). Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang. p15-32.
Hermida, A. (2012). TWEETS AND TRUTH: Journalism as a discipline of collaborative verification. Journalism Practice. 6:5-6, p659-668