Are social media sites the new connector between crisis news and the public?

It is so crazy for me to think that many people get their news from social media sites now rather than actual news sites. Its not like they are only using the social media sites, but it is more of a common trend now than it used to be. How accurate do you think the news found on the social media sites is? After reading a blog on Crisis Blogger about the recent Austin plane crash and how they used Twitter as a way to not only gain more information about the crash, but to spread the word about the crash to a large number of people.

The blogger talks about how he was in a meeting during the time of the crash and was notified of the happenings. They sent out many information releases to get the information out about the event. But along with those information releases, it was Twitter that was driving the information out to the public.

Also mentioned in the blog is how social media sites now are the first place people go when they hear about something interesting or when they witness something crazy or insane, therefore the news gets out there in the open before it is even reported about. Whether the information they post on the social media sites is accurate, it is getting out there to the public.

Many different types of media use the social media sites as a way to retrieve news. You may think that they are out their reporting the information and asking questions, but little do we know they are getting it just from the site, according to the blog.

I think that social media is taking a new seat in the eyes of news. It is not only a place to reconnect with people or get your name out their in the business world, but it is now a prime stop for news. Whether it be news someone heard about, witnessed, or actually reported on, the social media sites are slowly growing in the sense of news. I hope that there is a line the is drawn to separate the social media kinds of news from the actual news because how will we know what it true and what is false? I think that with the news appearing on social media sites, it looses a little bit of credibility because how do we know it was posted by a legitimate source, or if it was just someone writing about it for fun?

What are all your thoughts on this? Do you think that a social media site is a place to post news and stories? Or do you think that we should stick to the old fashioned reporters and tv news? do you think that the social media sites will lessen the credibility of the stories or do you think that it will raise the credibility? Do you think that what was said in this blog is true, that news is most likely found off the social media sites? or not?

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8 Responses to Are social media sites the new connector between crisis news and the public?

  1. rniu says:

    I also find it extremely interesting that social media sites are the new connectors between crisis news and the public. I can’t remember the last time I actually perused a news Web site to receive news. My primary news disseminator is definitely Twitter. By following all of the major news organizations, I can click on links to stories with simple headlines that are less than 140 characters. Recently, when Tiger Woods gave his public apology speech in Florida no longer than a month ago, it was as if every person on Twitter was live tweeting the event, really delving into Tiger’s crisis. This trend is becoming so popular, that I don’t even need to hear about the crisis to read and know everything about it.

    A significant event that really helped connect crises with the public on Twitter, was the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Thousands of people, from tourists to business people to locals, updated the whole world with the massacre with 140-character descriptions. News organizations learned of this trend and saw the popularity of it, and has used it to their advantage. Twitter has allowed for news organizations to attract new audiences, and give viewers quick information on crises. I also agree with you, that social media sites are slowly growing in the sense of news. I believe that news does not lose its credibilty if it is posted on social media sites. For traditional media consumers, this may be the case, but current trends have shown that social media is the new wave of information dissemination.

  2. aguido says:

    I definitely think it lessens the credibility behind the news we gather from social media sites, however true the information might be. I must say though that I love how fast and efficient one can share information now with sites like Twitter and Facebook, and how those stories show up automatically like an RSS feed on someone’s account who is following. I do think it is our future of disseminating the news, though not entirely. I would prefer to get the whole story than read a 140-character blurb with the most limited detail possible, and I would prefer that story come from a credible news source. The person Tweeting might be spreading some rumor they heard about the incident.

    I believe we should keep professional journalists around so there is credibility behind news stories, but I also believe that social media sites are becoming a great way to hear the news as soon as it happens. Perhaps the Tweets about something will urge us to go look it up on a credible news site for the full story, in which case reporters and journalists will be very valuable.

    • kmcnally says:

      ya, i understand where you are coming from, we shouldn’t only rely on the social media sites, we still need the credibility of the journalist, but i think my biggest issue, like you said, is how are we to be sure if what is on the social media site is true or false, i mean there is really no way to tell. And like you said, its hard to tell a credible story in 140 characters, so without the real news stories online, in newspapers or on tv, how do we be sure that we are getting the correct information.

  3. ahart says:

    I think that while social media should be a place that people go to for some information, it should not be the sole place. I think social media is more a place to express an opinion. I dont think that we should continue to rely on old fashioned reporters because people dont go to those mediums for most of their news anymore. I think social media should be a platform to facilitate conversation and add more depth to the news.

  4. hhoma says:

    I think social media is a good tool for finding out local news, but not things on a larger scale. For example, many city police and fire departments have twitter accounts that allow them to tweet about accidents and crime in their specific areas. They may post about a road closure or a hostage situation or a neighborhood fire that is extremely beneficial for people in that area to be aware of.

    For national and international news, on the other hand, I would advise people to use official news sites rather than social media, because there is a better chance that the information is fully true and from a credible source. It was previously mentioned that readers/viewers can never be 100% sure that news from social media sites is credible, and this is something that is unfortunate but true. Anyone can post about anything, and many times, they can do so anonymously. Therefore, it’s better to turn to official news organizations, where they do their best to provide accurate information (and know the consequences if they do not).

    • kmcnally says:

      ya i completely agree, social media can be beneficial for certain topics, but for big breaking news, we should rely on the major news sources because it will help solidify the credibility of the news. Journalists got a degree for a reason, and its to proved news in a factual and credible way, so we still need to let the journalists do their job, its what they went to school for. We can’t just rely on social media because if we do, then we will never know the real truth, we would be playing a guessing game, and lets be honest, not many people have time for that.

  5. cmcelroy says:

    For me, it’s a double edged sword. On the one hand, there is simply no way that a traditional news organization is going to be able to post a story as fast as social media sites can. On the other hand, there is always the chance for social media posts to be untrue. I remember this summer there was a rumor started on Twitter that Zach Braff had died. It took less than an hour for the news to be posted all across the web with real news sources reporting on the rumored death. I think that’s where it gets a little fuzzy.

    I think that social media is invaluable in situations where a message needs to get out quickly. In that sense, its a fantastic tool in crises. However, I do not think that traditional news organizations should be running stories from social media posts that cannot be substantiated. I view social media as a place to go for some minor clarity while facts are still coming in. As long as you are taking the posts with a grain of salt, and watching for substantiated reporting, I think it is a good way for people to be connected and informed.

  6. alevy says:

    I think this is a very interesting question to be brought to the attention of all of us JMC417 students because we are so immersed in social media every day through Twitter, Facebook and other sites. With this constant use of social media among our generation, I think it is hard to avoid obtaining the news from social media if we tried. I honestly can say that the main source of my news is Twitter as well. However, I agree there should be a line drawn between “social media news” and hard news.

    For example, Sunday night, while I was watching the Oscars recorded at home, I went on Twitter and my home page was full of tweets about who won best director before I even finished watching the awards. Although Twitter spoiled it for me, entertainment news is meant to engage people as well as inform, so for entertainment organizations, utilizing social media, i believe helps them attain their main goals and is a credible way to distribute their news. I believe that it is a good resource, but not something to solely rely on for news content. I think it can be used as a way to easily and quickly share the news and create awareness for the public, which can definitely be beneficial especially in the case of the horrible earthquake tragedies with Haiti and Chile. However, at the same time with so many people utilizing social media, I feel that it can sometimes end up a game of telephone where the end result may be fabricated.

    So, although people will continue to gather their news from social media, I agree that social media is a fine outlet to disseminate local news, but for international and national news, I think it is best to rely on the credible official news websites/print publications.

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