I was going to post about this after I had finished reading Sirens by Tom Reynolds (leading off from my last review A Paramedic’s Diary) but something he said about bloggers in relation to the London 7/7 attacks got me thinking and I could not wait until I had finished the book and posted the review to create a new post to talk about this. Sorry, I do ramble a bit in this post.
What he said was : “Once more the blogsphere provided up-to-date news as well as reporting on what the mainstream media was saying” (Reynolds, T. (2011). Sirens. London: The Friday Project. P. 197). And it got me thinking about the future of media, how media is consumed and, more specifically, about how we will receive the media and news in the future.
Media is already consumed through many channels, whether it’s through the TV, DVD‘s, video games and on laptops and computers through the internet but as the world and technology evolves, some of these methods may become obsolete. In the past ten or twenty years, the world has moved from buying videos and video players, to being able to crate their own videos through camcorders, to moving onto DVD’s, DVD players and DVD camcorders and now even the DVD is nearly had its day as the world moves to the blu-ray format.
The development of technology in recent years is considerable and for this reason, I think now is a good time to think about just where we will be in 5 and ten years time.
I think there will always be a place in the world for traditional media, whether it’s physical hard copies of books or newspapers, or listening to the radio or watching films at the cinema. The format may change but I think people will always consume it in traditional ways. DAB radios have been around for a few years now for listening to the radio digitally and as well as digital radio channels but in the future, maybe radio will be listened to more often through TV‘s via Sky or FreeView, and possibly, TV and films will be watched where it is possible to smell the fields of lush open countryside or the city and taste the culinary delights created by TV chefs. Possibly, the media, in whatever format, will be interactive. Kids will be able to interact with their heroes and adults will be able to join sleuths as they investigate the crime and track down the criminal.
Of course, we now have e-book readers, like Kindles and Kobos, touch screen tablet computers and even the ability to pause, rewind and watch live TV as it suits us. Maybe people read the news and newspapers on the internet, which is often more up to date than even on channels like BBC News 24 and this leads into what Reynolds was saying. News websites are up to date and frequently updated through the day however with the technology available, people now post and blog their own eyewitness accounts and the most up to date news on website like FaceBook, Twitter and blog sites like WordPress and Tumblr.
Now, I will grant websites such as these will have their fair share of trolls and people wanting to cause trouble and spread misinformation.
The London Riots were organised through Social Media platforms like Facebook and BlackBerry’s BBM messaging service. Rioters and looters posted pictures of themselves with their ill-gotten gains. By reading and seeing these images, it provided a more up to date view and provided more information than what could be seen on newspaper websites and even when news channels like BBC News and Sky News were reporting live from the riots themselves, such as in Manchester.
The very same social media platforms were used to help with the clean up after the riots each day.
During the Boston Marathon Bombings, on Tumblr, there were posts and messages flying around about what had happened and a real sense of community as American bloggers relayed and posted the latest information and public service updates from Boston PD. This information would have been from mainstream services however that information was being pushed and sent further around using Social Media.
On the 4th June, 2013, BBC News posted a report to their website saying that the Turkey riots were organised through social media. The Arab Uprisings were also reported to have been organised through social media. Recent sit in at universities and at St Paul’s Cathedral in the UK were also organised through social media and people were actually blogging and reporting live from within these sit ins through the very same networks.
In this sense, providing information as and when it happens, using the technology we have available to us to be able to post and blog in real-time actually makes bloggers and social media users the new journalists. We are in the middle of a social media revolution. I believe that this could be the future and, arguably, government attempts to rein in and police the internet wilderness using media law is partly proof that this is the way the world is going.
Lord Leveson, off the back of the phone hacking scandal, recently reported back his findings. In regards to blogs in his report, Leveson said:
“it is noteworthy that although the blogs cited here [Popbitch, HuffPo, Guido] are read by very large numbers of people, it should not detract from the fact that most blogs are read by very few people. Indeed, most blogs are rarely read as news or factual, but as opinion and must be considered as such” (O’Niell, E. (2012). Leveson Report– What are the implications for Social Media. [Online] Available at http://wallblog.co.uk/2012/11/29/leveson-report-any-implications-for-social-media/#ixzz2VXf8b3js [Accessed 7/6/2013]).
In general though, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and it’s users have become centres of libel cases. A very recent case in fact is the tweet from Sally Bercow regard Lord McAlpine, following a News Night programme by the BBC regarding child sexual abuse in care homes. She tweeted: “Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*”. A judge has found this libelous and even though Bercow has denied it was meant in a libellous way, she has accepted the ruling.
Slightly off-topic (as it’s not actually about news or the way we consume media) is the case of a Robin Hood Airport employee who made a joking tweet on Twitter about blowing up the airport. He was arrested, charged, convicted then had the conviction overturned when he proved it was not meant as a terrorist threat.
So if bloggers are to become the new journalists (as I feel it is almost inevitable that this will become the case), then maybe teaching of the law in regards to social media and blogging is needed. We will increasingly continue to garner news and information through digital means, with some traditional formats dying out, so there may become an increasing need for bloggers to be journalists and journalists to be bloggers.