Over the past decade, technology has rocketed journalism into the future. The social media take over is here, and because of this, journalists are forced to face the reality of moving forward with the trends/times or sitting back and enjoying the stone age. Twitter and Facebook have grown immensely with billions of followers world wide. Because of this, journalism has taken a new turn, a turn that has caused Facebook and Twitter to be professional journalism outlets for sources and news.
First, let’s start with Twitter. Twitter is an online social networking/microblogging website that allows users to send “tweets” in 140-characters or less. With that, Twitter is home to millions of news outlets – Fox 5 Las Vegas or CNN -, bloggers – Laurie Ruettimann and Jim Stroud -, celebrities, trends, gossip, magazines, shopping galleries, historical interests, normal people, etc. With so many outlets to receive news from, Twitter does an amazing job at letting you know who to follow – based on your previous follows – and what’s trending around the globe with a simple hashtag (#). It’s remarkable that this exists, it makes getting news 1,000 times easier and is super convenient for anyone who has a computer, smartphone or tablet.
Also, Twitter let’s you know how credible a source is due to the amount of followers they have. With a simple blue check mark, Twitter let’s users know what accounts are verifiable. This blue badge is used to established authenticity of identities of of key individuals and brands on Twitter according to FAQs about verified accounts. With that, I find that this makes Twitter credible, and that getting your news and information from Twitter is accurate and reliable. On the other hand, the only issue I have with Twitter is that in a developing news story – anywhere in the U.S. – news could be pumped out way too fast and the journalists may be Tweeting the incorrect information. This could potentially make the journalist lose credibility. Also, with so much information and news out there, journalists could make the mistake of plagiarizing someone else’s work from Twitter or finding the wrong information for their stories.
Poynter created a list, 10 Ways Journalists Can Use Twitter Before, During and After Reporting a Story, that can be used as a guide to help journalists understand and utilize Twitter efficiently. This workshop gives you the opportunity to establish a voice in the Twittersphere and establish yourself to your followers by creating interesting posts and relaying news.
Now we move onto Facebook. Over the past decade – literally it’s been 10 years since Facebook was created – we have seen Facebook transform from a simple white wall where you could post your feelings, emotions and every little thing you were doing that day to all your friends and family to a wonderland filled with photos, ads, news and billions of people. Facebook has drastically changed from being centrally a socialization website, to actually telling stories with your photos and the timeline feature. It also offers local news (that pops up on your feed), the simple sharing tool that allows you to share anything (websites, pictures, gifts) in a post, and FB also matches ads to who you are. It’s a bit creepy, but isn’t all social media?
Facebook has created a page called Journalists on Facebook, with factual articles and discussions for journalists to view. This page is helpful, and the article I scrolled upon, How Journalists Can Use Facebook Graph Search for Reporting, was quite interesting. In the past, we could only search for people by their name and – occasionally – by their home town. Now, Journalists can type in specific details about the person to search them. For example, you can now type in their occupation and employer to find them! This feature has made finding news stories and people much easier in the world of journalism.
The only issue I have with Facebook is that you really can’t tell if a news story is credible. Out of my 1,200 friends on Facebook, I always end up clicking on the news stories – that they share – and finding that they are definitely not credible and are from a website that basically is popular due to the amount of views they receive. I must admit, I do enjoy taking the quizzes, seeing the BuzzFeed posts and discovering interesting stories, but journalists have to be smart and make sure they get their facts straight before reporting on something they’ve seen on Facebook.
Twitter and Facebook have created a new wave of journalism. Both sites can be used in a professional manner. Getting information from them is a credible news source if it comes directly from that person. At my internship at Vegas Seven, we use Facebook all the time to keep track of bands and their tour dates/tickets. It’s nice to see how far both social media sites have come and it’s pretty great to know that people are adapting to them, instead of hiding under a rock.