We may sit down at 6 O’clock to watch the news but chances are we’ve already heard all of the main stories. This weeks lecture focused on citizen journalism and how news travels differently due to the technology, such as twitter, audiences have access to. I myself have never been a huge twitter fan, making the usual ‘I don’t want to know what people ate for breakfast’ comment, but its only recently I’ve become aware of how much more twitter is used for.
While watching a YouTube video of Clay Shirkey I began to understand the ‘bigger’ picture and how twitter can be used as a news network. Shirkey gave the example of a Chinese earthquake that reached 7.9 on the Richter scale making the important point that ‘the earthquake was reported as it was happening’. So why is this such an important statement? It’s because up until recent times news was normally reported after or towards the end of an event. Now however with Twitter, Facebook and mobile phones people are able to record situations such as the earthquake in the moments they are happening. Due to this it was Twitter that gave the first official announce that the earthquake in China had happened, even beating the American geological survey to posting it online.
Citizens are no longer watching the news but they are the ones actually reporting it, accumulating an immense amount of power as there is no censorship or gatekeepers to control the information that is passed on. So while it is a positive thing for the public community it proves a problem for governments as they have no control over how and when news is reported. Shirkey makes the point that the last time China faced an earthquake similar it was not until 3 months later that they even admitted it had happened. This time they had no choice in the matter and even found out themselves from twitter. Governments don’t enjoy their citizens being 3 steps ahead and it produces the question that if governments do have a problem with citizen journalism do they have things to hide, for why shouldn’t they report the news exactly as it is?
Citizen journalism gives people the right they should always of had to first hand accounts, pictures and ultimately the whole and honest truth about an issue or event. So should governments be allowed to shut down Twitter or Facebook during times of crisis to avoid the people having too much power??? In my opinion no, what about you guys?
But it doesn’t stop there, twitter can allow a plant to talk, you to turn off the lights in your room or pop popcorn...check it out!