We’re back with news about the workplaces. At least that’s our pretext for this publication. So, I’ve been looking at the internet and the future of journalism. See, the idea of live news broadcasts came about because of the invention of such devices as portable tape and video recorders. With the knowledge that these devices were out there, the demand for real-time news went up. It was no longer just enough to get the story; you had to get it as it unfolded. That is why today, live events have some of the most expensive ad slots on television. But things change, yesterday’s poster boy can easily become tomorrow’s has been, it takes a willingness to embrace change and keep up with the times to survive in today’s brutal business world. Which brings me to today’s buzz word, “Social Media Networks” the likes of which include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace and I’m sure a plethora of others.
Earlier last year when the Persians (Iran) went to the polls and violence ensued, the state shutdown the mainstream media, a tactic it had successfully employed in the past. This time however, the Social Networks took over and the only independent information coming out of Iran was from bloggers, and ordinary people on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. A new term has been coined for these people; they are called “Citizen Journalists.” I am one of these and consider myself a member of “The Free Press”. Newsweek has an interesting article titled “Rise of the Citizen Journalist” which highlights how mainstream media houses are trying to build a business model around the concept. Interestingly a good number of my friends cannot be convinced to join twitter or facebook let alone use an email address. I feel sorry for them because by the time they jump on the bandwagon the rest of us will probably be using holograms.
Twitter happens to be my favourite application despite the fact that it goes down every now and then. My reasons are simple really, it costs me 12/= to log in on my phone (Nokia 6230) and see the latest tweets, another 12/= to send a tweet to the people following me. That’s Shs. 24! A whole lot cheaper than an SMS of 110/=. I can send direct, private messages to a particular person; I can limit access to my tweets to only those I wish to follow me but most of all I can partake in what I like to call a “global conversation”. I get to follow my favourite writer Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) and a myriad of people from all corners of the world. Twitter for me is news as it happens!
I remember a few months ago learning from @inteligensia (Nairobi) that the oldest pupil in the world had passed away, a story that only made it to news networks eight hours later. The news of MJs death broke on twitter first and went viral so fast that Twitter’s servers couldn’t keep up. It was for twitter what the Gulf war was for CNN or what the Palestinian Intifada was for Al Jazeera. In this age of information, perhaps staying ahead of the game means embracing new technologies and adapting them to your business. See how I brought in a workish dimension there, apparently that’s what this e-zine is about. Anyway, if you want to have a chat with me, you can find me @rhinorck and my boss is @workzine. Enjoy yourselves.
Oh, and I’m also supposed to tell you that there’s some sort of photo shoot/party/fun stuff for the workzine soon. Of course, all the details will be available on the world’s first experiment in anarchy, the internet! Ciao
By Raymond Kukundakwe. The Writer is a sometimes editor of TheWorkZine