I read the news today oh boy

Normally when I hear The Beatles’ “Day in a life” the line I think of is “Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. Found my way downstairs and drank a cup and looking up, I noticed I was late.” Today however while searching for information for my writing assignment I came across an article about Twitter, the Iranian elections last summer and how news coverage was affected.

While many people probably heard the stories about how the Iranians were using Twitter to get out information regarding the elections, the story referenced above talks about how it was more than just “new media beats old media.” What happened was that Twitter users pressured CNN into providing more coverage of the story by using the hashtag #CNNFail to mock the news service. After a couple of days, coverage increased and “they show that while Twitter (Twitter), Flickr (Flickr), YouTube (YouTube) and other social media sites are both a source of unfiltered information and a venue for public discussion, we still look to CNN, the BBC and their ilk to add context and meaning to this flood of data. And when they fail us, we demand more of them.”

In a way this is kind of reminiscent of the discussions we’ve had at work about the demise of the news release and whether or not it really serves a purpose in the world of new media. I would argue along the lines of the quote, that the new media outlets do provide for unfiltered information, but context is necessary in order to make sense of it. Of course, if the masses don’t like what you’re saying, they can always cry “FAIL.”

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3 Responses to “I read the news today oh boy”

  1. Lucie Baudo Says:

    The thought that hit me was about truth in information and how, with all the inundation, much more diluted it can become. But then actually it’s probably no different because truth has always been distorted no matter how limited or excessive the sources of information, right? Actually Twitter, etc opens the door for more questioning and variety of perspectives. By the way, really, really nicely written.

  2. Paul T Says:

    I have a friend who is Iranian, and at the height of this near revolution in Iran early in the summer, it seemed as though the U.S. Iranian community was relying heavily on Facebook and Twitter to learn what was going on “on the ground” in what seemed almost “real-time.” I think that is part of the attraction of media like Twitter and Facebook, not only are they faster than traditional media outlets, but they can be, in a way, more democratic, in that those posting the updates are not necessarily themselves of any official media outlet and can be regular Joes like the rest of us. Despite circumventing traditional media outlets, non-traditional outlets can also be very powerful. I first saw the video of Neda being killed on Mousavi’s Facebook page, not in traditional news outlets.

    However, it is important to remember that just as these social networking tools can serve as primary source materials, they can also just as easily be used for propaganda. I remember Ahmadinejad supporters claiming the things going out on Twitter and Facebook were not accurate. I don’t buy that myself, but the fact that Facebook access was denied in Iran shortly after the election speaks to the potential such outlets have.

  3. Kim H. Says:

    I hadn’t read about this incident, but I can’t really say I’m surprised that it occurred. It’s almost a new bullying or pressure tactic. Instead of applying the pressure face-to-face, opponents are now doing it via social media which can be just as damaging. From a political standpoint it will be very interesting to see how new media further shapes things like elections and political movements across the world moving forward.

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