(Editor’s Note: Just want to welcome Karin and her unique perspective back to the site. Good to have you posting again!)
I like how I can get my news, not necessarily from mainstream media on television or from newspapers, but from Twitter or Facebook, or any other types of social media outlets that are out there for me to use at my disposal. People might look at me and wonder, why would you trust your news from Twitter or Facebook? The answer is… because I get to choose where I get my facts from. I can follow and sign up for feeds to news sources of my liking. I don’t have to be spoon-fed the news from the usual corporate media channels where they choose what stories to feed my brain. I can find and select the information I want to know for my news of the day, whether it’s showing me examples of the past, samples of the present, or insights into the future.
What’s interesting, though, is how we are able to find out what’s going on in the outside world… it is surely different than it was way back when. We have more options than just sitting on a couch and watching the evening news.
Take Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, for example. All were exploding with news and information when Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast. This particular storm was seen not just through the eyes of the media or on TV, but through the actual live pictures and videos uploaded from regular people on the ground. People posting videos of how the storm was at their locations, showing the devastation as it was happening. You didn’t have to wait a day or two for it to appear on the news, you were able to experience it live and first-hand on social media.
In the aftermath of Sandy, you were able to find out where local shelters were located, updates on power outages, what roads were detoured or closed, what animal rescues were going on, which supplies were needed, and so on. Twitter and Facebook were informative during the gas shortage because people were posting where resources can be found and what the conditions were in those areas. It was rather fascinating and comforting seeing how many people were helping each other throughout this tremendous crisis.
There are other uses of social media in the world, too. I was checking out some news stories online and came across a particular one that was rather thought-provoking. Israel Defense Forces are using Twitter and YouTube to update the Israeli civilians of what current military actions are taking place in their country with real-time information.
This type of news distribution is very different than the conventional way of getting the news delivered. Social media is no longer just a place to complain and post opinions… it is information! If all you have is a smartphone or a computer with an Internet connection, you don’t even need a newspaper or television to get your news anymore. Who would’ve known this was going to happen back when I was noodling with my Commodore 64 all those years ago.
Social media… instant news, all the time.