Friday, May 7, 2010

The Power of Social Media

I have been thinking about this Post for a while, not knowing that when I finally got around to it, that it would be my 150th post.  This past weekend, my area of the country (Tennessee and Kentucky) got some of the worst flooding in recent memory.  The entire city of Nashville was flooded.  The Grand Ole Opry, a national landmark, flooded as well.

If you turned on the news, whether network or cable, you would have noticed VERY LITTLE coverage of the flooding in Nashville, Tennessee, or Kentucky.  It appeared to be more important to tell the same story about the Oil Spill or the FAILED terrorist attempt in New York City.  I am not trying to down play the importance of those issues, but it seemed that all I saw was the SAME information over and over again.  Nothing new. 

Meanwhile, over 30 people had died in Tennessee and Kentucky and flooding damage estimates were coming in at over $1 Billion dollars (in just Nashville).  Of course, you would not have heard that on the regular news stations.  If you wanted information about the flooding, your best source should have been and should be Social Media.  I have quickly come to the realization that I get the best, most important, and broad range of news from Social Media.  Both the right and left wing views as well.

I got pictures, videos, articles, all from Twitter and Facebook.  I was learning more about the flooding via Social Media than ever was provided on network or cable news.  YouTube (7 pages worth) had more videos of the flooding than news stations.  One has to wonder why their was a lack of coverage. 

Many say because their wasn't really a story to it.  It was just rain.  One Blog Post (Shared on Facebook) I read talked about how the news stations weren't interested because there wasn't any looting going on.  Another article (Found via Digg) talked about the fact that there was no negative effect from a "federal government" response to the issue yet.

What is also great about Social Media as a news source is that the information I was getting was first hand accounts, not some edited media piece.  People who were living in it.  People I know, friends and family, all were sharing the impact the flood had on them.  Real news as I call it.

So the next time a major event happens, don't rely on the national media for information.  They are to worried about their own image, instead of telling the story of the images we see through Social Media.
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