SOCIAL MEDIA: A GATEWAY TO CITIZEN JOURNALISM

Photo of man drowningUndoubtedly the Internet has risen to become a part of our very existence. We live it, breathe it and even feel the impact it has on us either directly or indirectly. The web – made possible through the internet – has become a platform for the exchange of genuine conversations, providing individuals with tools for expressing personal thoughts. This ability to connect with people has been made even more evident through Social Media. People like myself, are now able to connect with others over a span of space; but probably not with Amish people  though, who view technology as vile. Because of how easy it is to communicate and share information, a new form of information “mavens” known as Citizen Journalists have emerged over the years.

Citizen Journalism – also known as public, participatory, democratic, guerrilla or street journalism – unlike traditional journalism which involves trained, skilled or professional journalists, is the ability for people (anyone) to exchange ideas and share information deemed important or news-worthy. Unlike traditional journalism where reporters with “gadgets” generally gathered information and controlled what was fed to the media, this form of unconventional journalism is made possible through the use of any device, mostly one with a camera. IPads, mobile phones, IPods, laptops, are but a few of such tools.

This information networking, through social media, has immensely changed the course of society as individuals no longer have to be bogged down by traditional media which for long served as gatekeepers between “newsy” information and the public. This ease and directness of information sharing has provided an opportunity for new conversations, connection and relationship building within and outside virtually every sphere of human experiences. Through various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp, LinkedIn (I can name a dozen more), a diverse group of individuals can be communicated with at any one time. Interestingly, with the rise of social media came the chance for recipients to respond to messages in real time. This adds a more personal touch to information sharing as individuals can now adapt messages to appeal to wider audiences.

At a point, because of how fast messages travel on the web, the ease of sending them and the seeming ability to spark up interesting conversations with people who are total strangers, the medium at which message(s) are passed via electronic delivery channels become inconsequential. People pay more and more attention to conversations and less to the tools employed in conveying them.

Much has been said but one fact should always resonate; communication will continue to exist regardless of how much effort is put in to conceal it. People will always have their opinions on issues, without caring whether they are overheard or quoted.

Silence is fatal, talk is cheap… What tools will you use to convey your messages today?

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2 thoughts on “SOCIAL MEDIA: A GATEWAY TO CITIZEN JOURNALISM

  1. I absolutely love Sweet Brown! This video is hilarious and I find myself using her catch phrase in my every day life. I do believe citizen journalism is a growing trend with the advanced technology. We are able to record events and share them allowing others to rely on us as a source of information. Like we’ve mentioned in class, we trust friends and family as opposed to the media. I think this is definitely true when we are able to watch video or see pictures from actual events. Hearing and/or seeing about an event from people who were there. This adds a sense of realness, an aspect that may lack with daily news casts.

    • I totally agree with you Phylicia, that most people nowadays trust the opinions of their friends more than the media. Social media has provided us with the ability to communicate in real time regardless of distance or time-zones. This promptness of information sharing, along with the ease of communicating messages is perhaps the catalyst that fuels citizen journalism.

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