Twitter puts news in the hands of the people

19 Mar

Social media has been letting non-mainstreams voices enter the news-reporting world for a while now, but Twitter is particularly good at letting amateurs have a say. Twitter lets people who are in the thick of the action report on events as they happen. This shift in the ease and speed of broadcasting information is transforming the way people get their news.

Since twitter is accessed by so many people, it has become a way to crowd source information. No one person needs to have the whole story as long as many people are sharing their experiences, a full picture of any ongoing event can be captured in real time. However, it is important for any new sources looking to capitalize on this feature of Twitter to remember  that they will have more luck joining the crowd if they represent themselves as a human, rather than a corporation.

One critical event in which Twitter was able to play a large role was the revolt in Iran. The death of Neda Agha-Soltan was posted online and through the video and tweets about what happened to her, Agha-Soltan became a source of inspiration for the protesters and an example of how bad things were to the people following the story.

Twitter is currently being used to raise awareness about the death of Trayvon Martin . Though keeping his name trending on Twitter, his supports are rallying for the arrest of the man who, protesters say, shot and killed Martin, George Zimmerman.

Though Twitter has been criticized for by many news sources as unreliable, one of the advantages to using Twitter is that it gives a larger number of critical eyes a chance to read about a news event. That means that while it is easy to spread false information through twitter, it also will not be long before the hoax can be debunked. On the other hand, journalists can use the somewhat untrustworthy nature of twitter to their advantage. If journalists make it a point to always provide accurate, confirmed information and can deliver it quickly by tweet, then they can get a reputation through twitter as a trustworthy and worthwhile news source. Cultivating a loyal twitter following will increase journalist’s readership and bring them more sources for any questions they may want to pose to their followers.

Twitter has made it easy for its users to follow certain events and find new people to follow though its lists feature . The lists allow users to group people tweeting about similar things together to organize and streamline news coverage.  The lists are viewable on the side of each person’s twitter feed, meaning that users can find new people to follow from the pages of people they already know they like.

Twitter makes crowd-sourcing information quick and lets critical information spread quicker than ever before. Journalist need to learn how to take advantage of all that twitter has to offer to keep up with today’s constant news cycle.

Twitter hashtag: #CookingwithChris

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