This post is part of a Tiger Print series focused on social media and its ability to do good.
Social media answers a human need/right that traditional media denies us. In the classic model, news outlets provide the news to its audience. Reporters do the research and write the article. Readers receive the information, take it in and have little say. They can occasionally write a letter to the editor, which will be read by someone hired to do the task and possibly printed or posted to the website. For the most part this is one-way communication and its determined by the media companies.
Sidenote: I like to give media outlets the benefit of the doubt. As a journalist who is friends with many other journalists I’ve never met one who isn’t concerned about reporting the truth and being as accurate as possible. It’s the structure of the system more than the people working in the field that is the problem.
Traditional media is one-sided. Social media, on the other hand, is two-way communication. It only really works when there is a back and forth between two parties. And it excels, grows and expands daily because humans by nature desire communication. We want that interaction. We, the readers and receivers, want the ability to shape, change and inform public opinion. We want to share our thoughts and opinions.
Social media allows us to do that. And more than that – social media truly excels when there is a steady stream of two-way communication. This is seen in blog posts and the discussions that happen in the comments. The Twitter conversation, or even something as simple as a ‘like’ on Facebook. We are interacting and making out voices heard.