Some days I try to look into the past and remember what it was like before everyone and anyone was in immediate contact with each other. It’s hard to recall what that looked like, even though it was only a short time ago where this was the case. Part of this difficulty may be due to myself being just a kid during this period of time. There is one example of a traditional report I do remember though. On September 11th, 2001 I remember that no matter where I was – At home, school or at my friend’s house – everyone was talking about the event that I had seen on television that morning. It is the first time I remember everyone I knew focused on one single event for an entire day.
Looking back on what is the most infamous event of the 21st century so far, there was tons of confusion at the time. News outlets were trying to report on any bit of inside information they could and firsthand accounts were brought to the public as a follow up after the towers had collapsed. Today, many people around the globe use social media to get their news. Tools tracking trending themes on these medias provide not only traditional media outlets, but the general public with instant information regarding what has happened and constant up to the minute updates on the event, whether it be a terrorist attack or election day results.
An example of this form of global broadcasting through social media would be the shooting that occurred at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last summer. The person running the social media account was able to put a message out on Facebook as the shooting was happening while many who were at the nightclub that night went to social media to recount their firsthand experience of the tragedy. Both of these examples went viral shortly after being posted, with traditional media reacting to the social media outburst shortly after.
Social media has changed the way we receive news on major world events, which has in turn forced traditional media to react. Using the aforementioned trending tools, they are able to find events using keywords and in turn help the news of a major event go viral. In the end, it turns out both forms of media can use the other in order to reach the public.