Hyper-connected, real-time news is a good thing — but so is accuracy

The tragedy that befell Boston earlier this week and its ensuing fallout has resulted in a lot of debate. I mean, everyone is talking about last night’s events. Here are two comments I overheard while having coffee at two different locations in San Francisco today.

“Twitter and (other) social networks are really good at this news thing for first 30 minutes and then everything goes crazy – speculation, rumors and the worse part is the role television plays in it all.” (#1)

“If you watch television and Twitter at the same time, you know how woefully behind television is, and that is when start to wonder, what the role of media is in this future where Twitter is the primary medium.” (#2)

Admittedly, San Francisco is a city that teeters on the naked end of the social media, and so its obsession with it is quite extreme. Nevertheless, it still reminded me of something I wrote last year about amplification and the role media has to play in this increasingly social and hyper-connected world in which random bits of information flow to-and-from nearly infinite nodes.

The point I made in my earlier post was “the media person’s role is no longer just reporting news. Reporting through sharing and curation are going to be vital roles for us to play in the future.” I should add one more thing to the list — being careful and analytical in the near real-time world we live in today. The nodes are now part of the process and as such the process — but not its true objective of accurately informing — has to evolve.

Because otherwise it is just creating a bigger mess than one has to report on. The media’s role is changing and evolving as our behavior on the internet is changing. And the sooner we realize it, the better it will be; not just for media but also for the society it is supposed to serve.