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It (social media) is getting organised

March 20, 2011

The New York Times recently published an article commentating on the continuing influence of social media in crisis situations.

Of course this is already a well discussed topic, but what made this outlook different and  interesting was its discussion with Global Voices, an “international community of bloggers”.

New York Times reporter Jennifer Preston spoke to Amira al-Hussaini, Regional Editor for the Middle East and North Africa for Global Voices.

Ms. Hussaini said: “There is a whole army of people who do the job of reporters, sharing what was happening on the streets.”

Not exactly news, but wait.

“Our job is to curate the conversation that is happening all over the Internet with people who really understand what is going on,” said Rebecca MacKinnon founder of Global Voices with Ethan Zuckerman.

This is an interesting development for social media, a niche which if often criticised for not being organised or verified, allowing for uninformed individuals to spew nonsense all over the web.

Now it seems that some are trying to filter it to reach those who know what they are talking about, enabling the public to bypass the drivel of others.

As the world comes to grips with the developing nature of social media and how it will shape events to come, it is important to document how it becomes ingrained into society.

Undoubtedly this “phenomenon” will evolve from being seen as an uncontrollable splurge of opinion into one of the main ways in which news is told and discussed.

Inevitably, the established forces were going to initially be hostile to mediums like Twitter and Facebook, but much like how the internet was initially treated with hostility by broadcast and print, only to be adopted by them, it is possible to see the same happening to social media now.

Newspapers print “Tweets of the week”, journalists have Twitter and Facebook profiles and news channels have “experts” to discuss the use of these platforms.

It will be interesting to see if social media is able to retain the raw element which has meant anyone can access and tell their own story, or whether it will eventually be entirely absorbed my larger organisations.

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