Social Media challenges traditional news organizations

How you get your news is exponentially changing on a daily basis. This change threatens traditional news outlets while making access to the news that interests you better. As Napster changed the music industry, FaceBook and Twitter are forcing the news media to change or be left behind. President Obama’s announcement that the United States got its man with the announcement of Osama’s death spread like wildfire through Twitter and FaceBook before the traditional media had, had time to react.

The Huffington Post writes that those celebrating the demise of Osama rushed to an impromptu celebration in front of the White House, not from media reports but from the rather simple message that “Osama is DEAD” across the social media spectrum.

According to a Forbes blog by Mark Pasetsky, the tweet that is credited for alerting the traditional media outlets was Keith Urbahn’s tweet, “So, I’m told by reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden”. Urbahn is the former chief of staff for Donald Rumsfeld. Earlier, a non-reporter from Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Osama was killed, accidently started the news flowing by reporting that a helicopter was hovering near his house. Sohaib Athar’s tweet about the helicopter started an avalanche of news reaching across all borders, most of it driven by citizen reporters.

And this is only the beginning. Even now, after the traditional media is reporting the events to the public, the social networkers are past that and concentrating on such issues as the reaction from different sectors of the Muslim community and other countries, and even within the US. Not only are we privy to macro-level politics but with each new post we get to see the worldwide reaction from person to person and neighborhood to neighborhood. The macro view is now the micro view of world events, at the speed of the keyboard.

For those that argue that professional media does not report until the news is accurate and thus confirmed, ignore a simple fact about the social media generation. The same concentration of individuals that spread the news is also the same group that holds everyone accountable. So, although a rumor may manifest itself initially, the network mob will step in to correct the record just as fast.

This is the vanguard of the news media revolution and it’s your turn to be part of it. Any news, no matter how insignificant it may be, could just be the post that screams the next headline across cyber-space. Athar’s post about a helicopter over his neighborhood signaled the news that people had been waiting to hear for over ten years. Sign up and participate in the news of the future by contributing your observations to the world. Sign up today by clicking here and start reporting as a citizen news reporter.