Upon learning of Osama Bin Laden’s death last night, my Twitter feed was alive with links to news. Facebook exploded with expressions of “God Bless America” and “Thanks to our troops.” I started thinking about how social media, specifically Twitter, has become an outlet for news. I was first amazed by the use of Twitter during the earthquake and tsunami almost two months ago in Japan and how quickly information and reactions were available to those around the world. I couldn’t believe the level of detail and information available via social media from witnesses and news sources. I was again amazed at not only the amount of tweets before, during and after the tornados in Alabama and Mississippi, but also at the use of Twitter to share where those tornados were headed, right down to the neighborhoods affected. I was included in that group using social media to check on family and friends in the affected areas.
Using social media to get the latest news is an interesting concept. It’s even more interesting to watch those social media properties ignite and bring together millions of people around the world to talk about a similar topic. It will be interesting to watch this trend for future news outbreaks and see what people are talking about. Do I think Twitter will replace traditional news outlets? No. But I do think Twitter and Facebook are quickly becoming a go-to outlet for the most up to date news and weather information not only from media outlets, but also from users’ friends and followers.
(Contributed by Brittany Burdoine-Lewis)