As I was preparing dinner last night I had one ear tuned to the television in the family room and one ear tuned to the child playing in the back yard. My attention fully focused on the news as I heard the words “Twitter” and “Facebook.” If you’re like me, mention of the social networks makes you take notice.
The anchor was discussing the recent events in Iran. Though the Iranian government is hoping for a news blackout, it’s not happening as many folks are receiving their updates via Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. In fact, Twitter ended up postponing necessary scheduled maintenance because it’s such an important tool in learning what’s happening in Iran. Comments from folks on the scene, warnings about fake government Twitter accounts, and even disturbing images of violence directed at protesters continue to flood cyberspace. The world no longer has to rely on government propaganda. Social Media has changed the way we learn the news.
Lately I’m learning what’s going on in the world before it’s reported on CNN and other outlets. Many news items (both web and print) are beginning with the words, “It was reported on Twitter this morning…” There is no such thing as a news blackout any more. It’s becoming harder to hide the truth. While this is a very good thing, it’s also important to note that folks have to be careful and not spread unsubstantiate rumors, because there are a lot of them going around as well.
As I was reading Tweets and watching events unfold, I’m remembering Tienanmen Square and how some of the Chinese protesters were arrested for using fax machines to get their stories to relatives and news outlets around the world. Technology will continue to advance, and with it the ways we receive our news…and it’s only going to get better.