Social Media….is it taking over?

This Social Media module has really opened my eyes to how much of an  impact sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have on every day life. Most people my age have to check their Facebook’s daily, and use Facebook as a source of entertainment, socializing and to keep up with events. But some people (Facebook-addicts) have to post up every event that happens during their day. It does make you wonder if there is such a thing as ‘keeping it personal’ anymore.

Obviously I know that journalists would find social media a great source of information, or a stimulus for a story, but isn’t it making the profession a lot more lazy? I remember watching old detective programs or films when I was younger and admiring the enthusiastic journalist at the scene of the crime, determined to find out more about the investigation, waving their little pen and paper around. Now it seems that most things can be done online. Interviews can be done online, sources can be found online. Is it just me being old-fashioned and such a technophobe or does it seem a bit sad that I won’t be getting much use out of the little journalistic notepad that my mum bought me for the course?

Every day there seems to be a story in the paper about social media. A woman using Facebook to keep her rapist in jail, a man being arrested on terrorist charges for joking that he would ‘blow the airport sky high!’, or an article on the new ‘Places’ app for Facebook on the iPhone. It really is everywhere. There is great reason to be involved with social media if you want to report a good story, to be up-to-date, and to cause interest.

It is not that I dislike social media, in fact I find it quite amazing how fast it has caught on, but I am just not one of those people who sit and go with the flow of change. I like to ask why things change. And if there is a great need to change. There are clearly benefits of having social media as a platform and a source. I know that some would say there is a great need for it, while others think it is taking over unnecessarily. I am definitely going to keep this topic alive by interviewing different people on their views on social media, so if anyone has any strong opinions I would be extremely grateful for your comment.

I am totally new to journalism, unlike most of you on the course, so I would love to hear what your opinions are on social media, or if it is something that you all have just accepted? I feel like such a loner, please help me.   

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12 Responses

  1. I too am a bit of technophobe and enjoy the traditional method of putting pen to paper. I like the idea of getting out there and socialising with people to find out great stories instead of sending them a facebook message or setting up a phone interiew. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a complete people person and working in fields that encourage a high level of communication I find it comes naturally or the fact that I HAD to set up a Facebook account as I was the last one out of my bunch of friends to get online. Like Facebook I was also encouraged to get a Blackberry as like before I wasn’t in the technical loop that my friends were completely obsessed with.
    Although I find the internet very useful and now like many cannot live without checking my Facebook on a regular basis, I think a balance is needed between technical and hands on methods.

    Joy
    x

    • Thanks for your comment Joy. It’s good to know that I am not the only one who enjoys the more traditional method of journalism.
      I only opened a Facebook account when all my mates were talking about it and I felt a bit left out – so I can totally comprehend your comment about ‘having to’ set up an account.
      Thanks again, Joy. x

  2. Julia, I love this post for it’s honesty and your ability to say wthat the voice inside my head is most definitely screaming out. The other side to social media which I feel hugely intimidated by is the incessant blogging of citizen journalists. How do we keep up with that? We are now competeing with Joe Public to source and report our stories. Everyday people are observing news as it happens, recording it on iphones and posting it on the web. It is entirely reflective of James’s point that journalists are no longer the gate-keepers of the news and also of Diane’s question last week about whether or not journalism is a profession. In many ways the Social Media class has intimidated me, it’s foreign territory and I’m not affraid to admit it. I feel like there are many, many social media ‘journalists’ out there and I am a very small fish in an incredibly vast sea.

    Lisa. x

    • I haven’t even thought about it from that angle Lisa. Now I am very anxious. Do you think by having social media it makes it more difficult for journalists to get jobs?

      Thanks for your comment x

      Julia x

  3. I’m with you on this one too. It seems we are destined to spend our days in front of a laptop, instead of out there in the real world, and I hope we don’t just sit back and accept it. The social media sites are invaluable, but I wont be given in my pen and paper. Great blog by the way!

  4. I agree with all of you. I do find myself sometimes during the lessons wondering if there is such a great need for journalists anymore. With people able to report news themselves on their blog, facebook or twitter, there is no such thing as a truly ‘exclusive’ story or completely original piece of journalism. I think it is scary to be trained into a ‘profession’ (or vocation or whatever it is) which is becoming more and more taken over by the public every day.
    I do think that there is still a need for trained and competant journalists though, and although I would definitely consider myself a techno-phobe, I think there is still a place for us in the media.
    Not unless forced to would I go on ‘twitter’ or any of these other sites (though I do love facebook), but I think social media is interesting, and we will all probably have to get used to using it if we want to be successful journalists.

    • I agree Ruby, we will have to get used to it. However it does concern me that I am neither inspired or enthused by it. (For the moment anyway.) I have to admit that it has made me question my passion for Journalism and for the ‘pen to paper’ written word. I have found myself sitting in lectures and tutorials thinking “Do I want this, am I naturally capable of engaging with this?” It has definitely thrown up my perception of Journalism and widely broadened what I thought would be involved.
      Thanks again to Julia who has not simply posted a blog, but also opened up a cleansing counselling forum!
      To take a complete u-turn on my point though – I’m logging into Napier Social Media before I log into Facebook each day. The conversion process may be underway…..
      Lisa. x

  5. I have got to agree with you Julia! Facebook has taken over MY life!! I counted yeterday, I checked my facebook – wait for it – 52 times! I am not one of these people that post EVERY event though (just some :)) …

    Many people I have as friends on facebook post everything! Pictures of what they have for dinner, an update every 2 minutes on how much closer they are to getting ready for a night out – washing my hair, painting my nails red, drying my hair, curling my hair, putting on the outfit, on the train, arrived at Common… And then it continues! ‘Met this realy fit guy in Common!’ … It has got to the stage that teenagers cannot enjoy their nights out without posting it on facebook! Come on, do you honestly think we want to know all of this info?

    Loved the post Julia, it really stirred up a good wee conversation!

  6. Great post Julia, totally agree with everything you are saying. Every story i read about social networking seems crazy- it is an obsession and one that appears to be essential for being successful

  7. I totally agree with you Julia, I also liked what Joy said about a balance that is needed between the tow. Personally I wouldn’t be brave enough to move to another country alone if phones and internet weren’t out there. Actually Facebook keeps me in touch with almost everybody I know and that feels great, so I wouldn’t imagine being without it at this stage of life, but still when reading articles about social networking and the role it plays on our everyday life I really become worried for the future, like what is more to expect, like no privacy at all??? After all I really have to say that I really liked your post, very interesting way of writing.

  8. Hello everyone..
    This is a very interesting thread! I didn’t realise that I had made so many of you nervous?! That wasn’t my intention at all.. You are right: there are alot of citizen journalists and bloggers out there and that does change the role and nature of journalism. But I (and lots of others) would argue that this makes professional journalists more important not less… someone needs to cut through the information to tell people what is really important to their lives.

    And social media isn’t everything about journalism at the moment – it’s just the focus of this module! So don’t worry you will still have the chance to get that trusted old note-pad out soon. But social media is important and the changing pace of technology, ideas, innovation, story telling is really exciting at the moment and journalism is at the heart of it. And – the idea is – when you graduate you’ll be trained up in all of this stuff – and ready to take that training to an industry that is already crying out for enthusiastic, imaginative and trained journalists.

    Hope that has put your minds at rest a bit!

    Come and talk to me if you want..

    James

  9. Hee, hee. Thanks James. I think the nerves are slowly but surely subsiding for many of us now. I for one have never blogged before and I’m not only enjoying familiarising myself with it, but also gaining a greater understanding of my course colleagues opinions and preferences. This site is informative, it’s introducing us to social media in a fun way and is also enabling us to get to know one and other better.

    Lisa.

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