Social Media

By Sun Narin,

Consultation from Video of New Frontier New Barrier by DMC students…..

From day to day, technology relentlessly develops with the update of new devices for people to connect to the whole world through Internet with computers and modern mobile cell phones. With this availability and importance of Internet in the world, a part of our busy and modern life today, technology plays a key role in human communication around the globe.

Twitter, My Space, Hi 5, Facebook and blog are social networking, which are created to serve the communication purpose over the Internet. Created in 2004 by an American student, Mark Zukerberg, especially Facebook has gained tremendous popularity. Statistics at Socialbakers.com show that there are 660 million world users, more than twice the US population. Facebook is not only used for social networking, but also used as a tool in political movements in the pursuit of public support and freedom.

Prominently in some countries, of the Middle East, such as Egypt and Tunisia, their citizens recently organized revolts against the government in the past several months. These tools are now used to spread the information and opinions of the people. They are considered as the tools to share the information very quickly to the large number of the people. Not only people who are not professional in the media use it, but also most of the traditional journalists in this modern age around the world are using those tools to receive information from the people and send it to the public.

Facebook and other social networking users just post on their wall about something bad happens or something that they want criticize and then the journalists take those ideas to make it as the news to the public. Therefore, now both people and journalists are very convenient and quick to get and share news through these social networking. Also, through this social media, journalists are able to get a lot of ideas or facts from the people, so they can analyze information or write it more accurately and reliably for the people because they are the professional traditional journalists. This can help the journalist who has a valuable role as mediator, analyzer, finder and verifier of stories. In Cambodia, as the instance, some people are suing Facebook to entertain by chatting and sharing what they have met in their daily life. They also spread news and express opinion freely on social issues. For example, Facebook users share information about the stampede on Koh Pich during 2010 Water Festival as well as about the Cambodia-Thailand border dispute-visible for friends and other users as postings on their personal page, called the “wall”. A journalism student in Cambodia says that, “when I access the Internet, I always log into my Facebook account. I looked at my wall as well as my friends’ if there is anything new updated. I mostly know about hot news via Facebook.”

In addition, I think this social networking also makes journalists more hard work and be careful on their work because now the public can also get the news. For example, they have to be careful with the number, and context of information in the news. Due to the fact that everyone can become a journalist, traditional journalists try to find something deeper of which people are not aware. Traditional journalists will always be needed to make sense of large amounts of information, something which citizen journalists might not be able to do.

These tools make people become the citizen journalists who aren’t trained journalists, but they write or report about their experiences or use social media, like Facebook or Twitter, to broadcast their messages. When people all over the world can access information on the internet, and use the same tools to publish information themselves, which is called massive democratization. Thus, everybody these days can be a publisher. They can create the context of news by themselves. Can citizen journalists replace the traditional journalists? I think it can be in the case that citizen journalists are reliable and their writing piece is journalistic style. Peter Barron, the Director of External Relations at Google believes that the best quality blogs will become as trusted as media companies – media brands – which already have a good reputation.

However, I agree that more or less it will contribute to helping traditional journalists to work on their piece. The modern media have challenged the traditional media largely. Reading news online is now very populous. In Cambodia, according to annual report of the Ministry of Information, online newsreaders have increased double compared to newspaper readers. This is because people use Internet both at home and at their workplace, even on mobile phones. In addition, some people create blog to write and express ideas concerning other social issues, so do the journalists, creating blog to publish their articles. As the example of Cambodia, youths who are aware of blog, create it to write something that they do not like about the government as the constructive ideas.

As myself, I have my own blog, http://www.sunnarin.wordpress.com, I use to publish my work to the people to read and to express the ideas on the social issues that I want to be critical of. But, people who use this social media as the tool to write and share news are not the expert and do not know what the journalism is, so they may just write without news writing styles, without interviewing, or even do not know how to be ethical and professional in journalistic work. Due to this popularity and the easiness of sharing news and ideas on this social networking, some countries restrict on the use of this social networking since the government is afraid of being criticized by the people or people use this social networking against the government. China and Vietnam, as the communist countries, block Facebook from their citizens. As I noticed, in India, it is not open to use this kind of social networking namely Facebook because this social networking can inflict violence in the society. Today, these tools have become the concerns for the government. Therefore, some countries block these sites such as the blockage of Facebook in China and Vietnam. Even blogs are blocked by the government due to the harsh criticism on the government. In Cambodia, there are also blogs like Ki Media that are openly critical of the government. Recently a number of online newsreaders found that they could not access Ki Media because the government blocks this website.

Due to that fact that this has become the concerned issue for the government, some government is planning to forge the censorship over the news. In conclusion, those social media help people share the information and also help journalism as aforementioned. More than this it helps a lot in improving the democracy in the country. If one country says it is the democratic country, it should be free and open to those social networking for the people. We should remember that people have right to access information, share the information and the right to express their opinion. The question remains that how people use their liberties to develop their country.

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