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social networks: demographics and democracy

27 Feb

by Georgina Leggate

 @GeorginaLeggate

Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya…social media has been the driving force behind most of, if not all of, the 2011 protests that have taken place in the Middle East. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook not only played a huge role in the pro-democracy surge but they have provided a platform of communication, which is accessible to all areas of society. These networks have acted as a starting point for all of the protests and have given eclectic groups of repressed citizens, a taste of freedom.

The rich, the poor, the educated, the non-educated, thousands of individuals have been part of what we now call ‘the revolution’. Social media enabled both the protesters and their followers the world over, to support mass movements against autocratic governments.

Social networking also has the amazing ability to crush and flatten hierarchy. Let’s take the Egyptians for example. It is easy to think that the poor or the unemployed triggered the demonstrations, when in-fact there was a growing culture of frustration amongst all socio-economic classes across Egypt. Due to Mubarak’s repressive regime, class distinctions have become more and more blurred. Low pay, low moral combined with high levels of intellect and motivation created a spark that was going to fire up in to something much more.

The reality was that the individuals behind the progressive movement were young, educated and often, privileged men who had access to the Internet and had the ability to use it. The ever-increasing world of social networks that protesters used, gave them a voice.

The use of these social networks enabled technologically savvy protestors to make extraordinary use of the Internet and mobilise the masses. Despite an authoritarian government, social media gave the Egyptians back the power to the people as they usurped the incumbent Egyptian leadership.

Social media was used as a platform to reach citizens in their own country, neighbouring states and crucial, global, expat communities as well.

Unbeknown to the Egyptians, they were to start something quite spectacular as they gained national and international support. This ‘something’ was the ‘revolution’ which arguably stemmed from a large dollop of dictatorship, a sprinkle of civil unrest, a pinch of the people served with a large spoonful of social networks .

Ask David Cameron any question via Youtube

22 Feb

@IanKearney

Theres only 2 hours left to ask David Cameron a question via youtube. I cant explain this any better than the video.

Good luck !

http://www.youtube.com/worldview

Dell’s Stephen Jio on Social Media and Citizen Journalism

19 Nov

 

Dell's Stephen Jio talks social media at City University's Dell event

By Ian Kearney

Dell’s social media guru Stephen Jio was at City University today giving a talk entitled; Making a name in the social media world.

Despite the fact that Mr Jio made some very interesting points on utilising social media for business’s, the lecture was largely attended by journalism students and it wasn’t long before Mr Jio’s talk moved into the realm of social media and citizen journalism. A video of which can be watched below.

Outside of citizen journalism, Jio also noted the, social media years are like dog years.” Stressing that because everything in the world of social media happens so fast, news becomes old news very fast.

Dell has amassed around 3.5 million followers on its various Twitter accounts ranking it in the top 5 worldwide for Twitter following. When asked by Me and Social Media if Dell employed a specific strategy to build up such an enormous community, Jio insisted that the growth of the Dell online community was in fact organic and perhaps helped by some of their viral campaigns on youtube.

“Its all about putting out something that people want to hear. If you put it out there people will want to follow you.”

Watch a quick clip of what Mr Jio had to say on social media.

 

My Twitter Epiphany

11 Nov

By Ian Kearney

Only a matter of weeks ago I joined Twitter and subscribed to the various news agencies, merely as a college exercise, and already Im using this social media tool as a first source for all my online journalism needs.

On my last trip home to Ireland I sat in an average restaurant in Heathrow airport, paying above average prices for below average food.

Affixed on the wall in front of me a plasma television broadcasting Sky News.

“Breaking news – Suspect packages found on planes at UK airport and in Dubai.” Not the words you want to see on any news report, especially if you are at an airport and even more so if you’re a nervous flyer.

Sky News Television coverage from East Midlands airport

The airport was noisy and I couldn’t quite grab the details of the story, needless to say Sky’s Steve Dixon was infinitely calmer than I was. Then as instinctively as changing gears in a car I pulled out my smart phone, logged into my Twitter account and intercepted updates from Sky Breaking News, BBC Breaking News, Itv News, Channel 4 News and various other news agencies.

As the various agencies tweeted away I was finding out the latest updates soon after the newsrooms themselves and from what I could gather before the venerable Steve Dixon, himself.

I could have used the internet on my phone to go to any news agency’s website but instead I chose to go straight to Twitter.

Why? Quite simply Twitter gave me the ability to check what all the agencies were saying all at once and in 140 characters rather than having to go in and out of each website reading through reams of copy.

In March 2009 Sky News hired Ruth Barnett as their “Twitter” or “Social Media Correspondent” and earlier this year Journalism.co.uk revealed that Sky News had installed Tweetdeck on all their reports computers in what Ms Barnett described as a process of embedding social media throughout the whole team.

This is as clear a sign as any that social media and online journalism go hand to hand and are here to stay.

Sky's Breaking News Twitter account instantly updating the suspect package story.

To get back to Heathrow, when it emerged that the suspect package was on a runway in East Midlands and of no immediate threat I breathed a sigh of relief, ordered a stiff drink and made my way to the departures gate, for which I was already running late.

A whole multitude of questions arises in this field; how is social media affecting online journalism? How is journalism affecting social media? Is social media changing how we source stories? Is social media changing the way we consume news?

This blog will attempt to address some of these questions as well as others in the area.