Thursday, November 27, 2008

Twitter: the New Platform for "Citizen Journalism"

Twitter: Platform for Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism has a very special place in my heart. I started my career roughly 10 years ago, right after I made my first film. That same summer and fall, I went to intern at Globalvision, Inc. My two bosses, Danny Schechter and Rory O'Connor became my first real- life mentors outside of school. I graduated high school early, but dropped out of college to roam around Independent Media Centers during the 2000 elections. It was the closest I came to the "joining the circus" experience.

There was a sense of revolution in the air because it was the first time independent media makers across the United States came together to produce their own live national television without the support of corporate media. They were veterans riding the wave of the IMF protests in Seattle. I was the new kid on the block, quiet literally. Folks who knew about the productions tuned into their local public access channels to watch the two live shows: Democracy Now with Amy Goodman and Crashing the Party with Laura Flanders. These were the days before YouTube.

I feel like the same revolution is happening right here, right now on the Internet. This revolution is called Twitter. It's been THE new platform to get a feel of trends and what's on people's minds. But today, folks on twitter kicked it up another notch with the Mumbai blasts. A lot of folks reported from the ground: @mumbaiattacks went up, @dina kept feeding us with info, @vinu posted his photos of the blasts, and THEN CNN International called him to comment. Even journalists had to tune in to twitter to get the news as @rotkapchen tweeted here.

We shared our concerns, our worries, our anger (I'm still pissed the Deepak Chopra's the only "Indian expert" mainstream media can find!) then people like Michael Leis and David Cushman went on to blog about the twitter experience. You can't get anymore real time than this -- the news happened, it was broadcast, digested, then commentary followed right away. Plus, this is happening at the speed of thought. THAT to me is a "revolution". How will this revolution evolve? We'll just have to wait and see, some are calling it "Web 3.0". More on that later...

Photo by Conform