The exponential results from social channels and new events

It is so much fun and intriguing to watch all the rhetoric coming across all the social channels surrounding the “earthquake” on Tuesday. So many news outlets were competing for coverage, social channels were blown-up with updates from personal accounts…many organizations sharing information.

The one thing that fascinates me is how we share so much information as it is happening. We want to be a part of the conversation. We want to share our experiences in the same manner that news outlets provide coverage. This mass volume of information can be perceived as a competition…organizations want to share the coolest photos, the most interesting facts, news outlets bringing in experts to analyze, even false reporting with photos not accurately representing Tuesday’s events.

The exponential results of the social channel is tremendous. We have become our own news outlets, competing and sharing information just as fast (if not faster) than traditional outlets.

I spoke with Jodi Gersh from Gannett during SOBCON in Chicago this year, and she shared how they are re-evaluating how they share information across social channels. Traditional news outlets have wanted to confirm information before it was reported…but taking “Live” television or “Breaking News” reporting to the social channels is a new strategy.

I think back to when I was in broadcast television, “Breaking News” coverage was all about the pictures, just showing what is happening was more than sufficient to provide realtime coverage when stories are developing…the idea of “this is what is happening now.”

When you add the social channels into the mix, you are writing textual information and delivering to a mass audience. When it is written, it must be true. So a whole new strategy for media outlets is evolving, reporting on social channels is a game changer…typing the information and sharing it as it happens. Removing some of the confirmation elements, yet sharing “what we know.”

This is fun to watch…

I remember back when LA television stations were giving small video cameras to local people, shooting video of local events so that they could cover all their news basis. At the same time, embeds were emerging with small video cameras on political races. CBS, NBC, and other outlets were giving young journalists cameras and following many of the candidates on the campaign trail, just incase something happened…they could have video of the event. The CNN idea of the iReporter, giving young people a chance to provide coverage. This allows CNN to cover all their basis just incase something big happens.

Now…we are the social reporters. We are challenging the main stream news outlets with real time streams of information. The first hand accounts show up in Facebook streams, Twitter Streams, Flickr, YouTube, etc., etc., etc. We are creating media faster than the news outlets can report the main story. Conversations are shaping around these updates and before we know it…communities are growing and connecting.

Think back when the Haiti earthquake happened…it was a Twitter stream that provided much of the updates and even helped locate some people. I remember when I was on the ground at Katrina. We had no cell phone access. We could only use the satellite phones in the satellite trucks, but text messaging was the way we communicated…next to our two-way radios.

It is amazing how far we have come.