Do the Write Thing

Tweet me: The power of social media

When Occupy Syracuse was given an eviction notice, they tweeted it.

When snow shut down West Genesee Schools, superintendent Chris Brown tweeted it.

When news breaks across central New York, news agencies, myself included, tweet it. Call me crazy, but Twitter may be the best thing to happen to information sharing. It’s not a new trend, or a new web service, but it’s catching on in Syracuse.

News stations are using it more and more for interaction in the communities, and there’s a social media cloud around Syracuse University that helps foster the online atmosphere in Central New York. It breeds healthy competition between news agencies and gives the opportunity to fine-tune our news coverage. If you follow different reporters, it could even be a look into the playbook of the competition — in this business, who wouldn’t want that? For the readers or viewers, it shows what goes into the news and gives you a minute-by-minute update on just what’s happening in your community. It helps you become a more involved, engaged citizen. It also gives you something to talk about at lunch.

But social media is a slippery slope for information sharing, as proven by the recent Joe Paterno scandal. Twitter killed him, just as it had assassinated Barack Obama and struck Charlie Sheen dead from an overdose. Sadly, Paterno’s last chapter in life on Earth was overshadowed by the premature reports of his death.

Neither bad journalism or Twitter can be blamed for the misreport. Once it’s put on Twitter (or Facebook, or a blog, or Google Plus... wait, do people use that?) it’s a slippery slope to bad-news-ville. We cringed during the entire Bernie Fine eruption in November as I checked out the hashtags #BernieFine and #BernieFineFired. Social media sometimes puts on that pressure to be first, not always the best. Syracuse media glided through that breaking news obstacle on social media.

I was an early adopter of the medium because of a college class (thanks former Post-Standard reporter @marducey), and didn’t see the point. It was another thing to clog my day, another thing to tend to. It would likely fall to the wayside — I participated for class, begrudgingly. I saw the value in it, and I saw the impact Twitter (and Facebook) have had on communities. Like most 20-somethings, Twitter and social media has become a natural part of my day and a natural way to communicate. It’s commentary, news sharing and personality, all in one. By the end of 2012, I’d love to see each community well-represented on Twitter. News is going digital, and will need a pipeline, such as social media, to continue.

My top Syracuse accounts to get you started:








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