The more tweets there are the better

21 Mar

Unexpected events occur every day. All of a sudden, there is a crash or an earthquake that no one saw coming. Journalists have no way of knowing what will happen and where. When something does happen, journalists make the effort to get to the scene as quickly as possibly. But, sometimes they are not the first people on the scene. Normal, everyday citizens can just happen to be in the right place at the right time and witness events. These citizens who are in the heart of the action have more information that the journalists on their way to the scene. So, why can’t citizens use their resources to update the masses? Well, with the innovations of Twitter and citizen journalism, now they can.

Twitter is a great and innovative resource that allows anyone to share information. For instance, before reporters and camera crews could get to the scene, Twitter broke the story of the Discovery Channel gunman. Regular citizens can now pass along information that they witness, instead of waiting for an official media outlet to release something. Twitter gives citizens the tools to use their own voice. The more more people contributing to the information pile, the better.

If a normal citizen witnesses the eruption of a massive volcano and is right there, why shouldn’t they chronicle the event on their Twitter. This is a great way to disseminate information quickly, so people know what is going on. However, one thing to keep in my mind is to only write what you know and what you are sure is correct. It is unethical to purposely mislead people and make up events. People who do this sully the information sharing system that Twitter enables. When reading Tweets, always consider the source. Do not simply discount something because it does not come from a media outlet, but use good judgment. Be skeptical, but trust your fellow citizen journalists until they give you a reason not to. If a citizen journalist abuses Twitter and fools their followers, people will eventually realize. Then, that citizen journalist will lose their credibility and the trust of their followers.

Twitter is also an extremely useful tool for journalists. Journalists can start conversations with readers, tell them about the reporting process, and even give live updates from events. For example, some news organizations live tweeted from inside the courtroom at the Casey Anthony trial and still tweet updates on the case. This allows readers to follow the raw information as it occurs, before the actual story is published.

Twitter story: #hardlife


One Response to “The more tweets there are the better”

  1. Ronald R. Rodgers March 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Good, but #hardlife is too common a hashtag to find your story.

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