WildBill's Blogdom

Mongo only pawn, in game of life.

Social Media and Reporting

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As the Asiana Airlines crash story unfolds, I am rather amazed at the speed at which the story unfolds on social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Path. Much like the story of the plane that crashed into the Hudson River a few years ago, it’s not the traditional news outlets that break the story – it’s each of us, acting as a crowd-sourced swarm of roving reporters.

In some cases, the first responders are the victims of the situation themselves:

Or they’re relatives of victims who happen to get text messages from their loved ones…

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Sometimes, they’re bystanders, tourists, or sight-seers who happen to be in the area due to fate…

Occasionally you get a professional writer or website editor who’s coherent enough to post half-decent information…

Then you’ve got the people on the internet who just follow the incident and repost/retweet/spread the word…

But however the word gets out, it does – via our always-connected, instant-on, rapidly flicking fingers. The grapevine of the Internet Generation, our 4G LTE-powered, outboard brains. It’s odd, I simultaneously welcome and fear this new development in our social evolution. Never before has word spread so fast to so many – and also, never before have we had the crazy potential to spread the wrong message, misjudge the situation, or simply just plain old get the story wrong.

So, what does this mean for reporters and journalists? Where they used to research articles, and spend lots of time cross-checking sources… now they simply just run with the story and post it, lest the social cloud get the scoop on them? We’re starting to see this phenomenon already. There is a wind blowing – news as entertainment, damn the torpedoes, just fucking post the story already, the masses don’t give a shit about facts kind of attitude. Not sure I like the overall trend out of the pros.

Pretty sure “Uncle” Walter Cronkite wouldn’t dig it too much, either.

At any rate; I do hope the people touched by this accident come out of it all right. I’m interested in the continuing story of “public as press”, also – mostly because I’m one of them as a blogger.