The inevitable progression of Internet and digital media development (as many media and communication student’s has claimed in their essays) has increasingly shifted the power from media moguls to the society. Digital media, especially Internet and social media has handed society the power they might not yet ready to possess.
A more integrated and interconnected media allows more fluid communication, interaction and hence faster conversations between people who are do not even know each other. It disseminates the barrier of knowledge and distance, it brings down the gap of education, and sadly, it creates the bridges of speculation and accusation. It is not uncommon how social media and many of the digital media can easily antagonised somebody based on an accusation by random posters (remember Luis Suarez or Matt Taylor).
Thanks to the modern media, education and qualification has somehow become less important when complicated stories, discourse, or conflicts can be cleared out by a 49 year old housewives who just so happen passed a crime scene and tweeted a picture of a hooded man leaving the place (This was fiction by the way, you can substitute the 49 year old housewives with anyone else). It creates a viral interest, curiosity, and demand of truth when the qualified people are not ready yet to expose the truth to the public. Hell, sometimes they don’t even have it yet.
Citizen journalism has become both the perks and cons of the modern media. It allows us, ordinary people the power of creating demand. Demand for a certain information and knowledge about a mysteries we cannot yet comprehend and Google from. It has somehow turns us from ordinary citizen into 21st century Sherlock with loads and loads of information readily available while at the same time being highly questionable.
Don’t get me wrong. It is good that we have this power to create demand. In fact, we should have the power over those moguls to demand contents and question publications and reports. Problem is, we tend to get carried away and claim our own truth.
The Boston bombing become an instance in which the people are handed too much power and create a rather chaotic condition for the American security, public and media society, With the blame game all over the internet accusing different people for being the bomber, the police and the media were forced to operate in a public chaos in which they have to move faster before a public beheading of an innocent people is to be summoned by the Internet users.
The problem is that we, the internet users, do not know about analytical investigation, we are not trained, let alone have access to the important files and information before we are able to make a justification on whose to blame. Yet, we tend to scream and shout all over the digital spaces that we have and create our own theory that can easily produce ripple effects which could potentially leads to cyber bullying, death threats, or even a murder of an innocent party.
Again, to have power over what content to get in the media is important. We should have access to information we want and information that are important for the society. But we have to remember that we are not qualified nor do we have an access to the many information and files needed to justify if a person or event A is correct or not.
It is in this gap that, for me, traditional media still hold a very important part in our society. Unless all of the Internet and digital media users are well educated and less barbaric (which they aren’t), a claim in the Internet is not a sufficient nor it is trustworthy enough to be believed. That is because anybody can and have access to it, that means that the people who are making a speculation, posting a certain picture, or files might not have the knowledge and understanding on the implication of what they have posted, the truthfulness of it and whether the society needs it or not (Remember Julian Assange, he is very ready and aware of the implication and even now he is still trapped in a small house not being able to do anything yet).
On the other hand, traditional media like TV and newspaper have the privileges to many restricted information. More to that, they have a room full of 60 people who are qualified and well trained in processing information and filtering on which source is trustworthy and reportable. Which could lead to chaos, and which can rebuild the justice.
Granted that many of modern traditional media are arseholes chasing ratings and advertising revenue, but that doesn’t mean that we are more qualified than them. It is in this gap of greediness and demand for truth that we play an important part as society to urge the right kind of information and reporting. After all, as I said many times before, if we choose not to access the entertainment side of the news and prefer the factual side of it, we automatically create the rating and hence the news media can both make a good report and maintain their revenue.