Social Media a Powerful tool of communication: A case study of use of social media by citizen journalists
Social Media is a term used to describe the type of media that is based on creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks using web based technologies –Wikipedia
For almost two decades Web has transformed and changed the way information is stored, published, searched and consumed. The effect has been wide and has influenced almost all spheres of life impacting not just business and industries but also Politics, education, media, healthcare transcending geographies and cultural boundaries.
The great wave of web innovation since Google in 1998 has been in social media. Social media is about networking and communicating through text, video, blogs, pictures, status updates on sites such as Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn or microblogs such as Twitter.
What makes social media of particular interest to journalism is how it has become influential as a communication and news-breaking tool. Social media has played a significant role in recent outbreaks of social protest and resistance. The mushrooming of Occupy protests, the Arab Spring, the mobilization of resistance against the Government of the Ukraine or in Hong Kong was heavily dependent on the resources provided by the social media. Many observers have concluded that in a networked world social media possesses the potential to promote public participation, engagement and the process of democratizing public life. The role of participatory and social media in Iran and during Mumbai attacks in 2008 have caused New York academic and blogger Jeff Jarvis to argue that ‘the witnesses are taking over the news’, that we are witnessing a historic shift of control from traditional news organisations to the audience themselves.
This paper focuses on the role of social media as a tool by the citizens as a powerful tool of communication.