Where do you turn for answers during a natural disaster? Twitter, of course.
As I write this post on Tuesday afternoon, the news is already old. Around 1:50 p.m. EST today, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia, with seismic activity reported from Toronto to Atlanta.
An uber-timely Mashable post explains that tweets began pouring in from Washington D.C. nearly 30 seconds before the quake was felt in New York City – and well before any reports about the quake emerged from the media.
Today’s event is just another example of how social media users are taking news broadcasting into their hands, reporting from their point of view to the rest of the world via networks like Facebook and Twitter.
As a question to those in public relations – and especially veterans who have been in the business before social media – what’s your take on citizen journalism? Is it a positive trend that we rely on word of mouth from our peers more so than established media outlets, because of speed and individual perspective? Or does it hinder the trustworthiness of the things we hear when the news is biased by someone else’s point of view?