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usair.pngThe intriguing question of what is news in the Internet age came up yesterday when Tony Katz used Twitter to report on a possible terrorist taken off a US Air flight Katz was on. The story has not made it to mainstream media.
Katz reported a minute by minute description of the potential bomb threat on his US Air flight in the 140 character “tweets” the popular micro-blogging platform allows. He explained how a man claiming to have a detonator in his pocket was removed from the plane by several police.
Katz said he thought he was just sharing an experience, moving news quickly without the content filters central to mainstream media, and he wondered “…are there needed, necessary and normalizing filters that we should be placing on ourselves when sharing?” It’s a good question, with implications for corporate marketers.
The story didn’t make the papers or the evening news. Tim Street reports the Twitter entries in a blog post. Certainly we have not become so inured to the potential of terrorism in our midst? With budget and time constraints, mainstream media can’t even come close to covering everything that is news. And while millions still watch the evening news, for millions more, that’s far from their only information source.
Social media lets us discuss events with others as thoroughly as we want to; to get as many eyewitness accounts as we can; to judge the viability of the information based on how well we know the source; and to make sure that the only news we hear isn’t what’s on the 11 o’clock report.
Katz’ assessment of the way US Air handled the situation was wholly positive. What if he reported that they handled it badly? How fast would their mistakes have spread through the Internet?
Would US Air know how to get their side of the story out through the world of social networks like Twitter, Jaiku, Flickr, etc.? How should they go about telling their story through social media? The answers to questions like these are evolving with emerging media. Any corporation that isn’t thinking about how to respond to a social media groundswell is a sitting duck for quick blow to their reputation. CMOs, CEOs: ignore little “time wasters” like Twitter, playground and news center of the new influencers, at your peril. Posted by B.L. Ochman
Thanks to Connie Reese for the screen shot