Unless you’ve been living under a rock, in a very dark cave off the coast of Scotland somewhere for the past gazillion years, you will be all too aware of the massive impact the internet has had on our modern lives. Whether you’re a technologically-challenged web-o-phobe or a blogoratti-elder, there is no denying that the internet has changed the way we work, rest and play in a huge way. Anything real life can offer us, the internet can do it better; staying in touch to shopping, paying bills to parenting, dating to..well you see where I’m going with this.
As the Media moves online, so do we. We’ve seen the newspaper, the CD, and even the good old household veteran the T.V kicked into shape by their modern, web-based equivalents. It seems the more we are online, the more we are controlled by our Media. Some worry that, while we can turn off our T.V, flick past the adverts in a magazine and get cosy on the back row to avoid the marketing tactics forced upon by the cinema, we cannot really avoid online advertising. It is flashing in our peripheral vision while we read our email, catching our eye as we surf the news feeds, and generally taking advantage of our passive state. But is the internet really a Media-controlled institution?
What if we, as the public, were holding the reins instead?
Forget about updating your status a few times a day or Skyping your Granny from Outer Mongolia, my friend. Citizen Journalism is where the party’s at- or at least going to be, it seems.
The term ‘Citizen Journalism’, I have to admit, does seem a bit dated. It brings to mind middle-aged, balding men who enjoy politics a bit too much, and social interaction not enough, complaining about pavement cracks and unemptied wheely bins in the ‘Have your say’ page of the local paper (which incidentally is right at the back between the Classifieds that no one wants to buy and the slightly dodgy premium-rate phone numbers that you flick past really quickly so you don’t look like a weirdo).
The idea, however, couldn’t be more new-age if it covered itself in pig intestines and called itself modern art.
The idea that we could be equipping the big News corporations with their exclusives, and be the one’s singlehandedly breaking big stories to the whole world is a notion which is fast becoming a reality.
In all honesty I would much rather read a blog written by an eyewitness, than a conventional news story churned from the wire by a bored newsroom reporter who favours cardboard-flavoured story-telling over getting the sack and a hefty lawsuit.
Time is money where news is concerned and the faster news can break, the better the story is. With platforms such as Twitter and Facebook being easily accessible on-the-go, we’ve got the upper-hand on even the biggest, baddest professional news corporations, and with more websites being phone-friendly, and phones becoming increasingly high-tech, the world is our stage.
Stories such as the ‘Nevsky Express’ and Perm Plane crash demonstrate how people are becoming increasingly more involved in news as opposed to being the passively on the receiving end. In one, we see how thousands reported as eyewitnesses, and in the other, how even when coverage was poor and people were injured, they still had the inclination to log on and let the world know. It really does demonstrate the role of the public in news and the role of social networking platforms in our lives.
The corner shop gossip has turned into a credible source of news. Life just got interesting!