Social networking is taking over the world with sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Myspace.
Like most college students, I have an addiction to social networking. Every morning I wake up and tweet about waking up. Honestly, I use twitter as my personal online journal. I actually started using Twitter because members of my family and church were requesting as friends on facebook. I hated the fact that Elder “So and So” and uncle “blah blah” were my friends on facebook. They should be reading the bible or knitting a blanket instead of checking my last status post. So I moved to twitter, which my family and church members have not gotten into yet – thank God. Although someday they will and I’ll be off to the next website. Point is – Everyone is using social networks.
People don’t understand the influence of social networking. They don’t understand how to protect themselves on these sites. What a person tweets, is how he or she is perceived as by his or her followers. Think about it – If I just tweet about partying, my followers will think I am a huge partier – regardless if I am or not. They only can judge me off of what I say (or tweet). As a huge tweeter I realize this. I also realize that anybody can be follow me or look at my updates because my page is not private. As a result I watch what I say.
Journalists have taken full advantage of the openness of social networking. When I interned at WKBW over the summer, I noticed how serious twitter was to journalism. WKBW had an actual person that was dedicated to updating their twitter account, as well as checking other new stations and public figures accounts. I remember one day a reporter was talking about Buffalo Bills WR Terrell Owens who had updated his tweeter at 4am talking about some party. Point is journalists are always watching.
Just today, Kansas City Chief’s running back Larry Johnson was released from his team after he posted on his twitter account several insults to fans, questioned his coach’s credentials and used a gay slur. Sports journalist and bloggers quickly uploaded his tweet. Not even removing the tweet could save Larry his job.
It is in our constitution that we as Americans have the freedom of speech. I guess journalist never read that amendment or failed American politics in school.