Monday, 25 August 2014

Twitter, Ferguson and the future of News.

The USA Ferguson riots again highlight the role of Social Media, notably Twitter, in news.

The news of the shooting first appeared on Twitter, long before any Media arrived and was well tweeted before any coverage. Equally too, people shared pics and video of armed police, tear gas and so on, assuming the role of traditional TV news. In fact, Social Media activity became the news story in itself.

A greater proportion of black people use Twitter than white with some 22% of African Americans on Twitter according to The FT. This shoots to 40% of 18-29 year old African Americans versus 28% of young white people and Jack Dorsey (twitter founder) was a presence at the protests.

He in turn used his Social Media to further the stories and the images.

Interesting too, that law enforcement were slow to get behind the Twitter stories and to utilise it for themselves. When you don't, you lose control of the story and they did.

The use of Social Media in news is now so prevalent that it's hard to see the traditional provision of news crews at scenes with reporters, as adding anything to the story. They even get there late, compared to the immediacy of Social Media.

Perhaps we need to re-think that?
Perhaps what's needed is an army of Twitterers available to report reliably and immediately for news.

Ferguson has shown us that we are moving into a new game.