Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Social Media as a Credible News Source?

Still a little ooky about social media? Well, believe it or not, social media is a major element of news nowadays.

In recent weeks, as the Washington DC area was pummeled by an earthquake,
multiple aftershocks, Hurricane Irene, a couple of small tornadoes and
unprecedented flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Lee, news gatherers were turning to Twitter and other social media sites as sources of news.

The news anchors and weather reporters on every network would pull up a
Twitter page and actually read tweets as part of the newscast. The tweets were considered to be accurate, credible reports of damage, rising
waters, downed trees and power lines, and other issues.

During the height of Hurricane Irene, the FOX affiliate compared tweets from
different areas to identify how those areas were being affected by the
storm. For example, people on Maryland's Eastern Shore were talking about
high waves pounding the waterfront, folks in Prince George's County were
tweeting about power outages, Southern Maryland residents were concerned
about high winds and parts of Washington DC were astir with rising rivers.

The utility companies and emergency responders were paying attention to the
social media reports as well and many were interacting with customers via social media.

Who would ever have expected that 140 characters could make so much of a
difference? Is your agency on board?

And what about accuracy and squelching rumors?

This is a potential topic for a session at the NAGC Communications School in
June 2012. What do you think? Is this something we should pursue?


Nelson Samayoa said...

What makes social network an emerging source of news and information is its accessibility. Wherever we are, we can access these networks through our laptops or smart phones. Usually, news delivered through social media is direct to the point, making it easier for readers to grasp the main content without spending too much reading. The only concern with this kind of news dissemination is the verification process. So as a reader and a social network user, you must verify the news before re-posting or spreading the information to the rest of the “NETIZENS.”

Sage Aumick said...

Based on your given samples, I must say, bad news has wings. They spread faster than we expected because of social networking platforms. One of the good things here is that people will know what’s happening around the world. And through that, they will also be able to extend their help quicker. But just like what Nelson said, we should take extra effort to verify the news.

Glenn Evans said...

Indeed, social media is now considered as a credible news source. Millions of people are connected to the internet at any given time. There are others who are almost online 24/7, in which instead of TV, they make use of the internet to gather news about the latest events. The introduction of social media in the virtual community has made sure that news from all over the world transcends geographic boundaries, connecting the entire world at click of a button.