me and social media… a love/hate relationship

19 Dec

by Georgina Leggate

 @GeorginaLeggate

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there are many advantages to the ever-increasing world of ‘social media’.  Nowadays, no one wants to wait until Christmas before they can see their family; they want a Skype account that will allow them to communicate with people in places far and wide. I speak from experience: my brother (who is working in Abu Dhabi) and his girlfriend (who lives in London) have had a relationship on Skype for the past 6 months! I appreciate that social media plays a crucial part in online journalism, but I do find all my different social media ‘accounts’ incredibly distracting, disorienting and unavoidably addictive. Having said this, social media in online journalism is now not an option, it is something of a phenomenon and will inevitably play a huge part in my life and future as a journalist.

The 10 o’clock news is no longer good enough for the average Joe Blogger

Just like no one wants to wait for people, no one wants to, or is prepared to, wait for their update of the daily news. Yes, we have 24-hour news that brings us live broadcasts throughout the day, but it is no longer enough! Our generation (and in particular, our generation of ‘multi-platform journalists’) wants contact with the people. We want opinions. We want first-hand experiences. We want witnesses on the ground, at the crime scene, we want people that are snowed in, snowed out. We want instant calls, instant messaging and instant updates all with our instant cup-a-soup. And, what’s more, we don’t just want it, we now demand it and social media provides us with it.

I have been on my laptop for no longer than eight minutes and I have taken in more news, more celebrity gossip, more travel updates and more information than I would have done if I had sat for half an hour reading the newspaper. I have, admittedly, become slightly addicted to this ‘social media hub’ in which I have immersed myself.

Even as I write this blog, I am reading breaking news stories that are being updated faster than I can type. The words that news readers are speaking rapidly lose their value as someone else, somewhere else is revealing new information via Facebook, Twitter, My Space, Bebo, Delicious, the list goes on.

Smart phones

Handheld devices, which are inevitably linked to Twitter et al, will enable news and current affairs to be read faster than my blog will. Handheld devices such as the ‘smart phone’ can help us access news, quicker than the human body can: the movement of information is no longer paralysed by human limitation.

It’s got to be a good thing but why do I always feel that I am spending considerable amounts of time working on and adapting to my new online life?! Or is my enthusiasm misplaced? Is it merely because I am a beginner blogger, a tweetanger and a Facebook fresher? Only time will tell.

I have recently enrolled on a Television Journalism course at City University throughout which I am expected to spend more time on the Internet, watching television, updating my blog and ‘tweeting’ than I am sitting with my head in a book. Gone are the days where it was good enough to be able to ‘use the internet’. I now have to be able to know a multitude of sites like the back of my hand and in turn be able to compare and contrast them.

There is no longer a job for the journalist who says ‘I can’t do that. How do you tweet? What’s Delicious? I’m rubbish on computers’. Fact is, the keyboard is the new pen, Word is the new paper and social media is the new news broadcaster.

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One Response to “me and social media… a love/hate relationship”

  1. Paul Bradshaw December 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Small point – but don’t underline things online unless they are a link. Use bold, italic or Heading settings instead. On the subject of which: this post needs links to support the argument you’re making, otherwise this is just opinion.

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