The People’s Choice

Yesterday in class a fellow student did a presentation on user-generated content.  Her presentation made me think to myself, “I wonder how much news organizations truly rely on the average citizen to gather material.”  These days with so many people using social media the amount of user generated content has increased significantly to the point where news organizations have called upon them for their content.  In fact NBC has purchased a new digital company that will allow them to use videos posted by everyday people using their smartphones.

Do you think there will come a time when news organizations will rely to heavily on user-generated content?  Don’t get me wrong there are great benefits to having user generated content such as having access to photos, videos or sound of a breaking news item.  Also by getting this content certain news organizations can have access to content that others will not, thus giving them an advantage.

I do fear the amount of user-generated content can take away from the job of a journalist.  There will always be a need for journalist but a lot of their responsibilities can be delegated to the people and the content they produce, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  News organizations can benefit greatly from user-generated content, but will there be a day where it could potentially replace the traditional journalist.

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I See You!

As I’ve stated in one of my earlier blogs technology is constantly changing the way we communicate with each other especially through social networking means. Not that it’s anything particularly new but location-based apps are definitely on the rise in the social networking world. These apps allow for people to interact with the world by showing their current position(s) or the places they have already been. Not only can people see what you’re doing but they can see where you are/were at that time.
Even journalist could capitalize on this trend and add an extra element to their stories by showing their readers exactly where they were when something occurred. I think there is a potential issue with these location apps. It can make it very easy for people to follow individuals. Having someone know where you are at all times when you post to that app could be very dangerous. Location-based apps have the potential to really change things but we’ll see how the public responds to them.

So with all of this talk about Twitter I began to wonder where do people tweet the most?  When I ask that question I mean which states (in the United States) have the most Twitter users.  I found a few articles that showcased the top states with the most Twitter users.  According to reports California tops the list followed by Texas at number two, Florida at number three, Illinois is fourth and Georgia rounds out the top five.  I was a little surprised to see New York at number six and not in the top five (although six out of 50 is pretty high).  It’s also interesting to note that four out of the top five Twitter states have the highest population in the country (California, Texas, Florida and Illinois respectively).

Here are the top five states with the most Twitter users.

What I think is even more interest is that the United States only accounts for about 20% of all Twitter users in the world as of 2010.  In fact the country with the most Twitter Users is China with 35 million.  While I’m not entirely sure of the reason for this it may have something to do with population.  I also wonder if Twitter has a different appeal in other countries.

The Twitter Times

There are many professional journalists use Twitter to promote stories or release late breaking news, but there are millions of Twitter users who don’t work for professional news organizations.  Do you think they deserve to be hired due to their diligence with their Twitter account?  In essence Twitter users are practicing journalistic methods with the way they break news on the micro blogging site.  There are even reports of Twitter getting into the news business.  So why not hire these folks?  There’s even a formula for getting hired through Twitter.

I’ve always thought Twitter to have a more “Wild West” feel to it. What I mean by that is people can say pretty much whatever they want however they want.  There is no real governing body who’s patrolling what is being said on Twitter and therefore people have that freedom to say whatever.  If Twitter is thinking about entering into the news business they could run into some serious issues.

There was an online article that highlighted how the Turkish government was hiring 6,000 Twitter users to help shape the opinion of the younger population.  This type of power to spread an agenda (even though some news organizations have their own agendas) coupled with the fact that Twitter can go unchecked can cause problems, but then again I could be overreacting.  How do you feel about Twitter entering the news business?