The first alert to UC Berkeley student James Buck’s arrest in Egypt in April of 2008: a one-word post to his Twitter account from his cell phone. The first picture released of the downed US Airways Flight 1549: a cameraphone picture uploaded onto Janis Krum’s Twitter. Throughout 2008 and the beginning 2009, we have seen how Twitter provided real-time, eyewitness accounts of natural disasters such as the October 2007 San Diego fires, critical emergencies such as the Virginia Tech shootings, election updates, and widespread attacks such as the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
It takes very little to Tweet a story. The start and end of James Buck’s ordeal was encapsulated in two words and two posts: “Arrested” and, later, “Free.” And the Hudson River plane crash was just another example of traditional media being beaten to the punch by social media. Family members in Taiwan could learn about it raining here in California ten seconds after the first raindrop hits the ground. (Miraculously, the rain just suddenly stopped) Social media is tranforming the way news hits the world and who is responsible for it. It’s like you’re IM’ing the world. Or at least your world.
Considering how vast the potential of social media and how fresh the news one hears from it is, it’s no wonder that your company should invest in social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, to name a few. A well-managed social media optimization campaign allows your company to blast your networks with news and exposure. Focus on expanding your networks and providing quality updates. A shortcoming of social media is its lack of accountability: social media doesn’t impose the kind of regulations on integrity of reporting that traditional media does, and this has caused many to view social media as a world of fluff and real-time gossip. Ensure that your social media is committed to quality, integrity, and a sincere desire to listen and be heard.