Social Networkers Have a Responsibility as News Sources

Pete Cashmore of Mashable wrote an article for CNN predicting the top ten web trends to watch for in 2010.  Some of them are predictable.  He writes to expect several Twitter-copycats as people strive for even more real-time interaction with their world and the people in it.  Cashmore also says with the widespread use of smartphones and apps to expect even more convergence in our devices - for example, Tom Tom's and other GPS devices will likely go out of style and instead they will be sold as apps on iPhones, or even become an included feature.  He also says to watch for the increase in "cloud computing," like Apple's MobileMe, where data is no longer stored on one desktop, but instead stored on a server (or cloud) accessible to multiple devices at once. 

Possibly Cashmore's prediction with the most interesting consequences is the continuance of our news coming to us through our social network instead of a direct news source.  Practically every website, blog, and article have icons to post what you're looking at directly to your Facebook or Twitter account with one click.  With the "information overload" of today's internet, people are getting to know their world more and more through their friends.  This trend is extremely useful for sharing information with your entire social network instantly, but it also has interesting side effects. For example, if people are only paying attention to things that are shared with them through their social network they may be missing out on other relevant information that's not of interest to their social networking "friends".  Having shared interests is a good thing, but this could create a new kind of ignorance and uniform thinking.

In the past, people were concerned with news organizations merging together to create information powerhouses.  The fear was if one news organization controls too many outlets then the same information will be distributed through several channels giving people less choice and variety.  The thought is that it is better to have many different organizations with different agendas and different voices.  Well, now that news organizations are changing with the rapid use of social media I think the new concern in the next decade will be keeping variety in the content that people choose to share with their network.  This new system could work great as long as there is a healthy balance of people participating with new content and different interests.  If too many people become passive observers instead of contributors all we'll ever know about are trending Twitter topics and funny YouTube videos posted to our Facebook pages.  If people participate actively and intelligently the benefits can be very exciting. In my opinion, this should be a trend to strive for in 2010.



Joy said...

Good post! I think that it really is easy to get stuck in your bubble, but as long as your bubble has relevant and diverse news sources it's all good.

TTT said...

It's all about messages. Companies will tweet news/links that fit w/ their message. Social networking is marketing at it's core whether you're pushing a product or yourself. I think that it is possible to get a balanced diet of news through social media as long as you know the messages that each source is trying to send.

50 Records said...

I don't know...when CNN has the Tiger Woods saga on their front page I kind of lose hope in "credible" news sources.