The focus of this blog entry will be regarding the emergence of citizen journalism, due to the emergence of social media, specifically Twitter. Citizen journalism, as defined by Bruns and Highfield in ‘The produsage of citizen journalism’, “refers to an assemblage of broadly journalistic activities (“random acts of journalism”) which are characterized by specific practical and technological affordances: they draw on the voluntary contributions of a wide- ranging and distributed network of self-selected participants rather than on the paid work of a core team of professional staff, and they utilize Internet technologies to coordinate the process.” (Bruns & Highfield, 2012).
The key factors in this definition are centered on random acts of journalism, involving voluntary contributions, and they use of Internet technologies to coordinate the process. Knowing these three key elements, it is clear to see why Twitter has really helped escalade citizen journalism. Being connected to social media sites, such as Twitter, allow you to be mere seconds away from connecting with the entire world. Report news as it happens directly through twitter, with a camera inside the app, and 140 characters to attract the attention of followers to your report.
In his captivating article ‘Reinventing Participation: Civic Agency and the Web Environment’ Dahlgren states when speaking of citizen journalism “In more recent years, the net and its ancillary technologies, such as mobile phones and the platforms for social media, have further extended this transformation” (Dahlgren, 2012). Clearly, the emergence of social media monster Twitter, has brought citizen journalism to heights it has never reached before. More evidence provided by Bruns and Highfield discuss the same stating citizen journalism occurs “through the collaboration of dispersed networks of individuals using a shared underlying social media platform such as Twitter.” (Burns & Highfield, 2012).
Never has a platform provided users with a means to provide citizen journalism with such ease. It pertains to all forms of journalism whether through sporting events, traffic news, crime reports, or political discussion, Twitter allows any individual to reach the masses in 140 characters or less. All the key principles of citizen journalism defined earlier are made easier by the emergence of Twitter. Random acts of journalism occur frequently on twitter as people use tweeting as a response to all of life’s crazy occurrences. Clearly the use of Twitter is voluntary by its users, therefore it meets the standards of voluntary contributions, and finally the technology used to coordinate the process, is Twitter.
Quoted in a 2003 Jenkins and Thorburn article Jonah Seiger, cofounder of Mindshare Internet Campaigns states, when speaking of citizen journalism, “The evolution of the Internet and politics is going to happen a lot more slowly than people expect.”. (Jenkins & Thorburn, 2003) Seiger was absolutely right stating this, as it did not happen simultaneously. The emergence of Twitter as worldwide social media phenomena allows citizen journalism to happen effortlessly on a day-to-day basis, through the ease Twitter provides, connecting to the entire world with a simple flip of the cell phone, allows for politics (among other aspects) and the internet to be intertwined.
In my personal opinion, everyone who owns a Twitter account is involved in citizen journalism. Whether its simply taking pictures of a car crash on your way home, or reporting your attendance to a major event, you are voluntarily providing random acts of journalism. Therefore, since I have a Twitter account, I provide my own personal journalism to all my followers daily, and will continue to do so in order to contribute my journalistic input to society.
Bruns, A. & T. Highfield. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. pre-publication draft on personal site. Published in: Lind, R. A. ed. (2012). Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang. p15-32.
Dahlgren, P. (2012). Reinventing Participation: Civic Agency and the Web Environment. Geopolitics, History, and International Relations , 4(2), 27-45.
Jenkins, H., & Thorburn, D. (2003). The digital revolution, the informed citizen, and the culture of democracy. (pp. 1-17). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
*Image Courtesy of Purchased Microsoft Office