This may be one of the most important topics we will ever address on The Bella Buzz podcast. Joe Magennis and Desiree Scales discuss the events that transpired over the weekend regarding the election in Iran and the impact of Twitter and social networks, including Facebook, on accessing the coverage in real time. This might just be the watershed moment historians point to as the time when social networks outperformed the traditional media in providing news coverage.
We first want to point out that the events taking place in Iran and the actions of the courageous people willing to voice their opinions in a society that can be overtly oppressive is far more important than media analysis and online tools. However, it cannot be under-emphasized the power that these tools provide for distributing alternate points of view that may never have had the chance to be expressed publicly. The ability to be heard is powerful force in initiating change of any kind. This can be just as true of corporate policies as much as governmental policies.
To set up the our discussion on the podcast, there were two Hashtags that trended to the top of Twitter this past Saturday evening / Sunday morning, one was #iranelection and the other was #cnnfail. The first conveyed a story of a population in Iran that was unwilling to accept the election results that were being presented to them by their government officials. The second was a vocal, global community unwilling to accept the fact that a major news event was taking place in the world and CNN (nor any other television news network) was not providing coverage of the story. They were instead airing reruns.
It is still unclear the reasoning behind CNN’s decision not to have an in-studio anchor presenting the story and analyzing the impact that these actions would have on the rest of the world. In fact, as of Monday afternoon following the recording of this podcast, CNN was claiming that they had indeed done a good job of covering the story and felt that it was a “compliment” according to Rick Sanchez that the audience was expecting more from them.
It appears to be a somewhat defensive stance on their part, however it must be pointed out that Rick Sanchez at least has some social media credibility, and is someone who has made it a point long before now to incorporate social media tools and direct feedback from his audience into his broadcasts.
As an attempt to tie this story into a business dialogue, since it is the overall focus of The Bella Buzz podcast, it can now be clearly seen communicating powerful messages are no longer only possible on major broadcast outlets. Decisions will have to be made regarding the placement of marketing dollars and moving resources away from the traditional outlets towards the social networks. This spiraling effect only leads to a further reduction in resources, which we speculate may have been a contributing factor for why this story didn’t receive comprehensive coverage.
We do have to provide a particular caveat for this transition from traditional to dispersed media consumption. Although there is a liberating aspect of getting unfiltered news, we must also caution that it now becomes incumbent upon us as consumers to dig a little deeper into the messaging we are receiving. Even though there is information coming via Twitter that would indicate the uprising is representative of a majority of the population, or that there are irregularities in the election process, we don’t actually have any verifiable evidence that these are indeed the real truth. Learning how to filter information on the web will be a skill that all educational institutions should immediately begin to add to their curriculum so that the population can identify memes, hysteria, spam or any other form of manipulating messages.
Our role here on The Bella Buzz podcast is not to tackle the political or social issues of the day, but when they intersect with the use of social communication tools that are a part of our every day environment, we feel that it is necessary to point out how they are being used and to turn it into an analogy for our audience to better understand how powerful they can be.
For those who weren’t convinced, Desiree tweeted yesterday, “We are now all participants on a world stage, helping others communicate their plight against all odds. We are witnessing history.” and “The Iranian election coverage on Twitter proves to everyone that we don’t talk about what we ate for lunch anymore. Its purpose is clearer.”
How do you feel about the events that took place in Iran and the intersection of new media with traditional media? Did you have opinions regarding the lack of broadcast channels covering the events? Let us know what you think in the comments, we would love to hear your ideas!
Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.
You can subscribe to The Bella Buzz directly from ITunes by following this link, and we would be happy to receive listener feedback and ratings at The ITunes Store.