DID YOU KNOW? The Social Media week is on. The event which started 3years ago has expanded to 21 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, Sao Paulo, Rio De Janeiro, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Istanbul, London, Paris, Rome, Milan, Glasgow, Berlin, Moscow, Beirut and Hong Kong. Starting in 2012, SMW is adding Tokyo, Singapore, DC and Miami.
Annually, the Social Media Week attracts more than 60,000 attendees across thousands of individually organized events, with half a million connecting to the conference online and through mobile.
One of the interesting topics that have been featured this week has been: Twitter, the Butterfly effect and the future of Journalism. Now that is a session that I would have loved to be a part of. None the less, I am going to write about it! I am a journalist and my heart beats for this my profession. I must say though that I not just lucky but honored considering that I know about Social Media. I know that there are still more journalists in Uganda that think Social Media is just for looking old buddies from school and chatting with people they have never met!
“Whether it’s the exposing of super injunctions, Middle Eastern revolutions or the Occupy movement, social media is having an ever more significant impact on our society and people’s desire for change.” Those were the opening remarks for the session at Social Media Week in London.
Paul Lewis the founder of Tweetminster had this to say: “Social media has transformed journalism quite significantly in some ways, but I’ll begin by arguing against myself, I think there are some ways in which we massively overstate the impact of social media – and Twitter in particular.
And while I think that Social Media is really vital, important to note though is that it is a tool. Radio TV and Print media today reproduce what has been featured in social media. But there can only be as many sets of 140 character tweets, or status updates. So it is going to be a while before Social Media takes over the journalism role. [Again those are my thoughts.]
So as a tool, has Social Media changed journalism for the better?
Finding People: True, that I can say is one of Social Media’s biggest strengths. I know people that have gotten jobs via Twitter, or been invited to feature as Speakers at events like Africa Gathering [Uganda Chapter] because they are known through Social Media. There is a lot of information sharing and crowdsourcing which is a good thing!
People who self-Publish/Activists: Social media gives people who may never get to have their work published a chance to be heard are given a chance through Social Media. Social Media is far-reaching and that is definitely an added advantage.
Big events: London Riots, Arab Spring are perfect examples of huge news events whose progress has been captured by Social Media. Uganda had its time too, during the 2011 Presidential and Parliamentary elections via #UgandaVotes .And we have seen this go on, every little thing that happens in Uganda today, somehow breaks first on either Twitter or Facebook. That I believe is a strength for Social Media.
Steve Butterworth is founder of Flumes Media Limited; he says something that I would love to end with as well:
“I probably thought a year ago, from a technology and social media point of view, that journalism’s dead…we’ve got the social Web now, right?,” says Butterworth. “But one thing I’ve learned over the past year is the value of journalism, and I think it’s very different to the kind of information we get on social media.”
I think that we can actually agree to host our own Social Media Week, here in Kampala. If South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda and Maghreb countries do not beat us to it. They tweet more in Africa.