Aah, citizen journalism and social media… the trends that have professional photojournalists clutching their Nikons in fear. Well, kinda.
The power of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to spread news, share photos, and videos of events and organise protest actions (most notably during the Arab Spring) is well documented. Technological convergence has resulted in a device which can tweet, share, film videos, capture images and sound, send messages and communicate news in real time (this magical device is that smartphone in your pocket, by the way). The result is millions of citizens who can spread media rapidly with their cell phone without the need for a news organisation, a broadcast tower or a printing press.
Camera phone photos have become more widely used by traditional news organisations, but some argue that they’re sufficient for authentic, real-time shots but are not a replacement for a skilled photojournalist. Currently, the most commonly used camera by Flickr users is not a Canon, or a Nikon, or even a stand-alone camera — it’s an iPhone 4.
While some of the points can be debated, this infographic nicely sums up what’s happening in the world of citizen journalism, social media, and revolutions (although I suggest non-Apple addicts try to remain calm. Yes, we know that there are other smartphones available). While smartphone + Facebook + Twitter + citizens does not equal a revolution (the protests carried on when the Egyptian government shut down the internet and cell phone networks, remember?), social media and smartphones can certainly facilitate change.