I have just come across this article in The Guardian and it got me thinking – is this clever use of social media or just lazy journalism?

To take a step back and look at the use of social networks in the media - It could be said that Twitter and similar blogging sites are destroying the traditional sense of journalism. Anyone can now add their view and become a ‘journalist’ on any topic over the web, perhaps undermining the status of those in the profession. 

Sites such as twitter are also calling into debate the question of what is ‘news’?  By the time a reporter has researched and written up the story, it is likely that it has already been tweeted about online.  Does this make online news sites ‘old news’?  And where does this leave printed news – what is the shelf life of the daily papers now you can access all the news you want online, quicker and for free?  The speed at which we receive information has become instant.  The plane crashing into the Hudson river being a perfect example of this. It seems our news resource is becoming dominated by social media channels where information can be supplied and shared by anyone, as it happens.

Going back to the Guardian blog and use of twitter in this particular case – I personally think this is a wise use of the technologies we have available to us.  In the current economy all businesses, including the media will no doubt be feeling the pressures to do more, but with less resources.  Some media outlets may have had to cut their freelance writers for example, meaning there is the same amount of work but spread among fewer people. The press have always been under pressure to provide news as quickly as possible - using twitter to help with the research process is a wise way of improving efficiencies without sacrificing the quality of this investigative piece of journalism. 

In fact, it could be said that this illustrates a new, richer form of journalism – where the viewpoints of a variety of sources are taken into account, rather than just a journalist’s take on the facts, ultimately offering a more rounded article for the reader. Similarly, for SMBs, Social Media can be a way to get closer to customers and offer an even better level of service to differentiate from competitors.

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