The day I found out about Osama Bin Laden’s death via Facebook was the day that I decided to re-evaluate my life as a journalism student. Ever since that horrifying moment I have kept up with the promise I made myself- to make sure I check SMH and Crikey every morning before Facebook or Twitter.
Further, and more importantly, this event made me reflect upon social media and its role in society and ‘web 2.0‘ today. The days of waiting for the local newspaper to be delivered in order to find out about the happenings of the world are over. The internet and predominately social networking websites have likened news to a ready made meal- instantaneous and ready to be consumed. However, just like ready-made meals there is absolutely no guarantee in regards to the authenticity of the facts (or the ingredients used).
This idea further reinforces the concept of “Transversality” which was established in my previous blog. Social media has evolved from being a platform that aids in communication into a platform on which ordinary people of society are able to come together to share their opinions with the goal of creating change. Although there are consequential benefits, my own personal experience has highlighted one of the negatives.
As aforementioned, a lot of the information shared on social media is invalid; this runs especially true with Facebook and what is shared in regards to Australian politics. Individuals are therefore gaining a distorted view of our politicians and their party’s policies due to these ‘facts’ being shared around Facebook, which are usually developed by someone that hasn’t done their research. The ABC reflects this through the statement: “The 24 hr. news cycle is at the heart of this, and it’s killing our democracy”.
‘Government 2.0,’ although transparent, is not able to counteract this notion. This is because individuals tend to believe content when they view it online. Further, when a comment or a ‘meme’ has hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’ it is more likely to be noticed. (Some examples shown below)
Murphie, A 2006,‘Editorial’, [on transversality], the Fibreculture Journal, 9, accessed 1st May 2013, < http://nine.fibreculturejournal.org/ >
Styles, C 2009, ‘A Government 2.0 idea – first, make all the functions visible’, accessed 1st May 2013 < http://catherinestyles.com/2009/06/28/a-government-2-0-idea/>
Ellis, B 2010, ‘Sleepless in Canberra’, ABC NEWS, 23rd June, Retrieved: <http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/35116.html%09>
O’Reilly, T 2005, ‘What is Web 2.0’ accessed 1st May 2013 <http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html>