The last couple of posts on this blog have been stimulated by the scope and very public use of social media as tools during the US Presidential election campaign. This morning I shared some discussion on Seesmic with two contacts, one in the US, one in the UK. We chatted about the way the BBC and VoxAfrica had used Seesmic as well as Phreadz and 12 Seconds to grab vox-pops for their own website presentation Have Your Say. Some of these grabs were also screened on television. You can trawl through my discussion by clicking on the My Seesmic Conversations box.
Twitter made it through the madness of election day without any fails by the whale. Indeed, in the past couple of days I’ve been aware of a growing awareness and use of Twitter here in Australia. Numbers of users are increasing … there’s a Twitter survey doing the rounds to find out which city has the greatest number of users … and those users are Twittering the heck out of the service.
Calling sports events … well you’d expect that down here … was all the rage during the Olympics, the AFL Grand Final, and the Melbourne Cup earlier this week. I noticed the same thing happening during the baseball World Series a week or so ago. Sports fans can call the games a little too enthusiastically. If you don’t like the stream of scores and comment, you can mute it all and turn your contacts back on after the game with a smart-looking little Twitter client called Twalala.
Of course Twitter has its sober side. After SMS texting, Twitter is perhaps the most accessible of the array of social networking tools that include blogs, video reporting on mobile phones and online in other sites like YouTube. Weather reports, ideas and information transmission, calls for help and disaster reports have all been Tweeted. Yesterday, as the US election results were emerging, Twitter did service in providing the latest calls and commentary to a world bursting for news. The immediacy of Twitter provides the sort of instant gratification and social activity that we crave, with a sweet subversion of centralised media networks.
Here’s a video from TED by James Suroweiki who speaks about the day social media became an equal player in news gathering. On Boxing Day 2005, parts of South East and Southern Asia were devastated by a Tsunami. Social media reported and chronicled that event. News gathering has not been the same since.