The changes Facebook has made to journalism…

During the 1700’s the newspaper was pretty much our only source of news…mid. 1840’s the telegraph was used to send breaking news long distances…the late 1800’s brought the telephones and typewriters to journalists…in the 1920’s the radio dominated the market…in the 1950’s  people began to turn to the television for their news and until the 80’s media relied on print, television and radio. Now…for the last twenty-five years we now have the “new media”   

So…now that we are in this new media stage we now have social media beasts like Facebook. Back in August of 2008 Facebook reported 100 million users and today it reports over than 500 million worldwide! In a matter of three years it has increased over 500 million users!! With this number of users how can journalism refuse to jump on board??

“Facebook has dramatically transformed the way journalists do their jobs. It’s become an essential tool, making our jobs far more efficient.”

– Ian Shapira, Washington Post

Facebook has made it much easier for journalists to report on issues and in a matter of seconds reach thousands of people. Having so many journalists using Facebook is an opportunity for them to be more in touch with the average citizen; Minty at Al Jazeera English said “It has allowed us to get a true sense of what average citizens in some countries are thinking and planning,” Journalism has always been a matter of being involved with reporting of issues found in your community and the numbers show where a majority of the community spends quite a bit of their time….so, once again…of course journalists need to be involved with Facebook…how could they not be?

There are now tools on FB that help journalists when they are searching for information is tied to specific news events or people. These are features like FBInstant, Facebook questions, Facebook places and Openbook…I wanted to give it a try for myself so I went to FBInstant where I found a nice simple page with just a search bar at the top of the page and three categories below: pages, posts and events…I typed social media and in seconds I had so many links to all kinds of useful information….I can see how this would be sooo helpful to journalists.

Journalists have to give their audience information they need and want. Being in touch with Facebook journalists are able to get an idea of the communities likes and dislikes…their interests…what they are feeling about whatever it is they are posting about…their passions…there is really so much that can be learned from FB…

“As in any form of journalism, if you don’t understand where the audience is and what it’s doing, you don’t understand the audience.”  Kelly Wilson author of In Your Facebook

We must also think about how Facebook will continue to change journalism…what’s to come? To be completely honest I have no idea. I mean there are a few posibilities…as more people are able to become “journalists” themselves will many journalists begin to lose their jobs if they don’t keep up with social media…are we moving to a day where social media sites are our only place for news…I mean truly there are so many possibilities and not one of us knows for sure…only time will tell *

Facebook feelings…

Over the years my feelings about Facebook have slowly but surely been changing. It all began about five or so years ago when I had first heard about Facebook, to be completely honest  I originally had my doubts…I figured it was just another Myspace style site where people just logged on, found old friends and regurgitated mindless information. At this point in time I was already pretty much done with the whole Myspace craze so I didn’t exactly jump on the train to get involved in Facebook. But then, I started to hear many speak about the benefits of Facebook and how they liked it so much better than Myspace so…after about a year or two I decided it would be best if I just stop criticizing Facebook and try it out for myself.

After opening my account my main use for Facebook has been keeping in touch with family and friends as well as discussing topics of interest with other like-minded people. But, being how these are my only uses…in my life it has turned out to be nothing more than just a newer enhanced Myspace.

But, please don’t get me wrong…I am completely aware of the potential power Facebook holds. We have all recently seen the power of social media in the Egyptian revolution. It opened our eyes to what truly can be done with the help of social media. It’s awesome.        

Like I said…my feelings about Facebook have been changing over the years…after seeing the changes that can be made with the use of social media, taking a Journalism 65 class, exploring Facebook much more than I previously had and learning of the many benefits to individuals, professionals and students I now feel it’s a VERY powerful social media site, if used properly.