Social Media hasn’t just changed how people connect with each other, it has changed how people connect with the world. It is not only a way to reach out to companies and connect with family, but it is also how people find out news.
The question is, is that always a good thing? Jayson DeMers talks about how in the aftermath of the tragedy of the Boston Bombing, a suspect was announced on Reddit. Unfortunately, this was done since the information went viral and it wasn’t fact checked. What does this mean for journalists? It means that thinking you have a story, and having a story are two different things.
Before social media, and breaking stories could be done with a tweet, there was a process that included fact checking. That process needs to remain in place even though the pace has changed dramatically. Reddit talks about how when looking on the internet for information, people have to know what they are talking about and find as much information as is possible surrounding the topic. Geneva Overholser also talks about journalism and social media, and how different people look for different verification from sites. Some people will take information from Facebook and their friends, while others wait and find out the information from a site that they find value in. That is what people are looking for, value in a brand. That doesn’t mean always a company, but it could be a respected person that they find credible. The fact that people are not making sure they have credible information as journalists is shocking to me. I have a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and we were taught that when discussing a topic through any platform without all the information, we need to address that and admit that we weren’t knowledgeable. The other thing we made sure of, was not to announce any names until it had been verified by a credible source, such as the police. The fact that internet reporting has allowed people to attack names before anything has been verified is shocking. People should be held accountable for false accusations.
Another way social media is affecting the internet, is the way companies connect. Public relations professionals can create a better way for companies to brand themselves on the internet and reach out to consumers and clients. Kate McKinney and Kirian Ross talk about how by creating information on various social media platforms, in order to keep a company relevant and found through search engines. I personally enjoy being able to find a company online. When I look for someone or a company and find no results, I am always a little wary when dealing with them. This makes me believe that companies should be using social media platforms more, and reaching out to consumers in this way.
Which platforms are most used? Realizing that Facebook is the most used social media platform, means that companies and brands should really be focusing their content on that platform. Social media advertising is a way to connect with the audience and give them a chance to build brand loyalty. Scott Elser talks about how social media is becoming more of an advertising platform than ever before. Companies that increase brand engagement, increase brand awareness, and indirectly increase sales.
What do you think about guerrilla reporting? Should people be held accountable for reporting without credible information?
Do you think that journalists should be held to higher standards than citizens who report what they see?