News Participation Starts At ‘Home’

Trevor Knoblich | FrontlineSMS | November 16, 2012

Seemingly every major news event worldwide is heightening participation in news. People are eager to share updates and photos of an unfolding news event, ask questions of media outlets, and share important information. But there are two important aspects to this type of participation: (1) people are most interested in sharing news about the community around them, specifically with others in their community and (2) the mechanism by which they choose to share information is dependent upon personal habits and access. In other words, people write about their immediate world using their ‘home’ or go-to platform.

Recently, Hurricane Sandy here in the United States demonstrated this, with Twitter and Instagram in particular serving as major platforms for people to participate in an unfolding, news-worthy event. And media outlets took notice, with extensive reports around the effort of citizen participation. Some lauded the efforts of individuals to share information on Twitter; while others noted the changing flavor of the tweets, which evolved from humorous pokes at media coverage to critical information exchange. And of course, one user’s account was famously unmasked for its false and potentially dangerous tweets. [...]