The emergence of social media and microblogging has definitely made journalism more accessible to the average person. I mean, everybody is a blogger or journalist thanks to Facebook and Twitter. In chapter 4 of Journalism Next Briggs does a great job of showing the importance of microblogging. Honestly I didn’t even know that such a word even existed.
Twitter was alway a mystery to me. It wasn’t quite like Facebook. It took a very minimalist approach to social media. You had 140 characters to express your opinions and not a character more. I’ve tried and I mean I have really tried to get into Twitter, but the fact is I don’t quite get it frankly. It’s so short and a lot times messages on Twitter are like an inside joke that you had to hear initially to understand.
Nevertheless I do understand the importance and power that Twitter has had on this generation of up and coming journalist. In the chapter Briggs talks about the immediacy that Twitter brings to journalism. A lot of stories have actually appeared on Twitter before any other media platform could get coverage. Briggs brings up the example of Shawna Redden and the emergency landing of Southwest Airlines in 2011. She gave a first hand account of the situation as it was happening. The whole ordeal was extremely intimate. I almost felt like I was on the plane with her just by her giving the description as it was happening. You don’t get that same emotion with the news. She made a connection with people who were thousands of miles away and that’s what social media and microblogging is all about. It’s that intimacy that you don’t get with news.
Briggs also talks about Twitter being used to collect data. I never really thought about that before reading the chapter, but it’s true. You can get real time information on how people feel about politics, world events, sports, society, and a plethora of other things instantaneously. Once again you don’t get this with news. With news you hear the information and you digest it. With social media you get involved in the conversation, it’s a call and response platform. As a telecommunications major I see the changes in news gathering and distribution and I wonder what’s next. One thing I will say is we are all being connected.