Social media and news

This morning Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill tweeted that it’s time to “fire the watchdog overseeing contracting in Afghanistan.” She included a link and invitation to her Facebook page where she posted a video explaining her positon and asking “what do you think?”

I’m sure this is happening hundreds of times a day but this still feels like something significant is happening. The senator has 40,000+ followers on twitter (not sure about Facebook). I’m sure elections have been won and lost by that many votes, but that’s not my point.

How would the senator have made her position known pre-twitter/facebook? Press release emailed to hundreds of media outlets? Radio interviews with big news stations in St Louis and Kansas City? Maybe a few seconds for a satellite interview with a couple of TV stations (or the networks)?

And for all I know she’s still doing this but in every instance, the media controls the experience. And there would be little or no opportunity for engagement with the people.

It’s not difficult for me to imagine a time in the very near future where Twitter replaces the emailed (faxed?!) news release. That’s probably already happening. And I am seeing more and more YouTube and Facebook video showing up in “newscasts.”

Real Journalists would insist that much is lost by them not having an opportunity to ask the senator “the hard questions.” But the’ll be hard pressed to find many viewers/listeners/readers who agree their questions add much. Not saying they’d be right, just that they don’t agree.

I’m going to go back to Senator McCaskill’s Facebook page and read some of the comments. And if anyone can put me in touch with her social media advisor(s), I’d really like to talk to them because they seem to know what they’re doing.

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