In recent times, especially the last year, social media has played a significant role in spreading protests throughout the globe, and at the same time, has changed the dynamics of the news flow dramatically.
And media convergence has made it possible.
In the news media industry, source of information is the main driving force. News production runs on the values like proximity, authenticity, validity and relevance based on the circumstance and genre of the news. Traditionally, organizational channels and news wires have been the main source of the information flow. The next big addition to it came from the Internet. Now no one can expect a newsroom without Internet and googled information. And social media is giving brilliant dimensions to this change especially in situations when proximity becomes more important than authenticity, as in cases of the follow-up stories.
We often come across reports that Twitter and Facebook intend to exploit the information flow through their networks to significantly alter the news industry and they have a point here to make, for they led the revolutions in the closed regimes like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. They have started sounding significant in iron-curtained regimes like China, Russia and Syria. Social media has made a difference in countries where the traditional media is totally controlled. Social media mobilized opinion of millions on issues like corruption and corporate greed, considered dead issues not so long ago.
So what did the social media do? How did it bypass the restrictive barriers that are used to control the traditional mass media? It made the information flow as fast as happening in the real time and at the same time allowed the people consuming the information to modify it with their expressions and further relay – all in the real time thus creating a chain that crossed the borders and drew international attention and hence increased pressure points. – from the report of ‘The Project on Information Technology and Political Islam’, University of Washington gives us some eye-opening pointers.
The last year was the year of the protester, a year marked by the protests when the common men took to the streets, from Tunisia to India, from Egypt to USA, from Canada to Greece, to protest regimes and to protest on issues.
Most of the protests were operated in a way totally amorphous with no figurehead. Instead, there were so many heroes, unnamed, leading from the front, fighting in the streets and on the communication platforms, outdoing the regimes and the controls, by disseminating their stories of struggle, plight and momentary triumphs.
And convergence gave them the global voice.
The human aspect of the media convergence blended so well with its technological and business counterparts - that it is going to be the next big thing in the news production industry.