Snapchat: 10-second-max pictures. Twitter: 140-character-max posts. Vine: six-second long video compilations.
In the era of instant everything, social media is capitalizing on the short attention spans of viewers, and as the suppliers of news information, journalists must as well. This goes for anything from finding and contacting sources instantly—some journalists have found that people respond quickly on Facebook while phone calls go unanswered, while others use the Graph Search to locate individuals with an connection to their story. Breaking news stories starting breaking first on Twitter, and now live-tweeting gets the information out to the public as quickly as possible. Journalists don’t need bulky cameras and equipment to capture videos and photos of the events surrounding them, and edit and post to YouTube, Facebook, and other social sites directly from their mobile devices.
But through all this instant news and compact information, journalists can’t forget their job is to get the full, accurate story—not just to get it first.
In his 2004 book We The Media, author Dan Gillmor explores the impact of the Internet on journalism before modern social media even emerged. He discussed blogs, and internet trolls in the rapidly shrinking globalized world and digital era that the Internet created.
And the world has only shrunk since then; Facebook started in 2004, Twitter in 2006, and many more social media networks followed shortly after. If Gillmor wrote today, his book would be vastly different in the platforms discussed, but would have the same theme: the necessity of journalists to adapt and take advantage of new mediums while trying to maintain journalists integrity and ethics.