There can be no doubt that the Social Media is largely a force for good, and it has empowered many voiceless people.
It has granted the power of the media to individual citizens, who can use their social media accounts as their own newspapers or channels to highlight issues and injustices, which at times can lead to action.
So one may ask what the role of the media is in today’s Social Media age. This is especially so when policy makers and leaders use their own widely followed social media accounts to communicate directly with their people and even ‘break news’.
These days, one even hears about newsroom discussions being a lot about social media posts. In some extreme cases popular social media figures become like absentee ‘idea editors’ for news organizations where their posts or thoughts get reflected on news pages.
This is where professional journalists and media houses must apply their breaks, and put on their own thinking caps.
The role of journalism and journalists is still a very specialized field, which is not just about writing what comes to the mind but involves gathering hard facts, getting the other side, cross checking and doing more.
On the other side the regular and many goof ups, lack of research, factual errors, contrary positions, extreme positions, lack of context and narrow opinion put out as facts by social media figures show that journalism is still badly needed.
Journalists and media houses must also resist the populist pressures of the social media to chase likes and favorable comments. We must have the strength to even go against the majority public opinion, if it wrong.
While journalists must know how to use and accept social media what we ultimately put in our news pages is sacred, and it must even be detached from our strong opinions, if the facts don’t bear them out. Most importantly, we must retain and strengthen the habit of thinking for ourselves rather than becoming a part of some social media publicity campaign or a gullible troll army on the loose.
“Never before has a generation so diligently recorded themselves accomplishing so little,”