“Every tool is a weapon”

Posted: February 8, 2011 by Sara Power in Uncategorized

“… if you hold it right.” – Ani Difranco, My IQ

I first discovered the events occuring in Egypt via CBCAlerts on Twitter, which are sent to my phone. So I woke up one morning, checked my phone and heard about it. Then it was on TV, and then I went looking for information.

My go-to sources are the Globe and Mail, Twitter, and the New York Times. So thats where I looked. Eventually I discovered Aljazeera and that has become my main news source on the events – in particular the live blog.

But Twitter is where I get all of the fast news. You just search it, and its all there. And its fascinating because these are what REAL people are thinking and feeling about this, all over the world. I also am a new follower of @Gsquare86, a blogging protester in Cairo. It’s cool to follow the tweets of somebody who is deeply affected by what is going on.

This is why the revolution of the new media is so great. It allows for this world community discussion and sharing of information. Its very cool to be able to follow what is happening RIGHT NOW. It’s a real-time revolution, and it is being documented, aided and abbetted with Twitter and Facebook.

I am a ball of optimism, aren’t I? Well, there are NEGATIVES. The major one is that people devour information at an alarming rate, remember probably half of it, and get bored almost instantly. In all of the hullabaloo of Egypt, who cares about Tunisia, or what Harper is up to, or Isreal, or North Korea, or that Georgian luger who died around this time last year?

Well, that is the challenge to journalists, isn’t it. We do still have a job to do, and even if we are the ones who get bored the fastest? We have to be the ones to remember and shove the other important things happening in the world down people’s throats so nobody forgets. We get to sort through the information tsunami and put it all into context: hey, it’s a job!

In Egypt, Journalists are fighting for their right to be heard, and in the overload of information in the media revolution, Journalists are still fighting for their right to be heard. And they will be. Journalists know what they are doing, what they should be looking for. They know how to sort the information out, how to put it in front of people’s faces so that they hear and understand it. The media revolution needs to be embraced and incorporated into fundamental journalism – it is an asset, when used correctly.

And Egypt is the prime example for this right now. These social media tools are aiding the organization and communication for the revolution. I believe that it would still be happening without it, but it has definitely helped to share ideas, events and simply to communicate. Twitter and facebook have made it practically impossible for a media blackout: the truth will not be hidden. If a Tiannamen Square Massacre happens in Tahrir Square, the blackout of information will not.

And that can only be a good thing.

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