Does Social Media Have an Impact on Today’s Journalism? You Tell Me.
As I become more and more immersed in the world of social media, I begin seeing how it’s not just me; social media is a tool that infiltrates our existence and our being. Consider the Digg effect: if your server is ill-prepared for a traffic spike and you hit the front page for the first time, your web host will probably disable your service contract. Within the first few hours, you’re seeing at least 10,000 visitors to your website. That’s substantial. These thousands of users are all accessing your superior content at the same time and are being influenced by what you say. In fact, social media is on the radar of many prominent news outlets. Journalists are watching what is being submitted, and more interestingly, they are watching what you say.
Two examples have arisen this past week.
In anticipation for the highly acclaimed Harry Potter novel, photographed pages of the book have already leaked onto the Internet. Within hours, the discovery was brought to the forefront of the Digg community. The Wall Street Journal covered the initial leak. What tipped them off? This TorrentFreak post seems most likely. After all, it made its way to Digg.
In the Wall Street Journal article, they quoted the response of the Digg community:
“Great, cant digg now for the rest of the week…for fear of spoilers,” a poster called “listor” wrote on Digg. On the same site, another, calling himself v1ct0r, said whoever put the book online deserves harsh punishment: “He will be sent to Azkaban, if he get arrested.”
I guess it is much easier to get a quote online than to call someone or email someone for something on the record. This, to journalists, is on the record as far as they’re concerned.
I thought that would be a standalone event, and then I saw a follow-up on the story, indicating that the EXIF metadata on the photograph might provide leads to the owner of the camera from which the photographs of the book were released.
A post on the digg.com website claimed that the serial number of the camera which photographed the pages claimed to be from the unpublished Harry Potter, was 560151117.
And so, social media penetrates into mainstream media. Can someone tell me that they didn’t see this happening? Can someone say that social media has no value to anyone? Do you really believe that?
It’s not only Digg, though.
A few months ago, when Google Maps came out with its Street View photo functionality, a woman in California complained to the popular Boing Boing blog that her cat was photographed. She was very concerned about Google’s violations of privacy.
Two days later, her story hit the New York Times. (So much for privacy, right?)
Have we entered an era where social media has made a strong impact on mainstream media? I think we have, more so than when I blogged about it before. Popular news aggregation services and blogs are now part of a journalist’s checklist of sources.
It’s obvious that I’ve been embracing social media and have no immediate plans to stop. It wasn’t long ago that I volunteered my reasons why I chose to go that route:
Question: Do you read the Sunday paper? My answer: No. I read Digg. Stuff gets there faster.
It’s very true. The writers are getting their news from us.
Where do you stand on this obvious impact of social media?