parakala

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Tweets, Television, And News

17-10-2012
There is one aspect of the ongoing Vadra/DLF-Kejriwal spat that caught my attention.

Traditional media is now increasingly picking up things from the new media for its stories.

In one of its bulletins, NDTV went to Kejriwal to ask for an elaboration of his tweet. Kejriwal tweeted his response to DLF’s defense of its position against his allegations. NDTV reporter asked Kejriwal at least twice about the tweet in the short interview. And the reporter also asked him if he was satisfied with Robert Vadra’s post in the facebook for clarifying his position.

The reporter seemed to have logged into his twitter account and waited. As soon as he saw a tweet by Kejriwal, he jumped into the van with his camera crew and headed to where the tweeter was available! A tweet was enough for the whirring of NDTV cameras.

The English language television is now willy-nilly integrating itself with the social media. It is picking up tweets. It is responding to tweets. It wants people and leaders and activists to respond to tweets and facebook status posts. The news presenters and editors are tweeting and posting statuses. Many leaders are tweeting and leveraging the new media. The result may not be a gain to the leaders always, though. Shashi Tharoor came close to losing his union minister job for his ‘cattle class’ tweet.

As the TV channels air a discussion, a show, breaking news or a live telecast, they are also flashing the tweets of the public on the topic.

You can see that the traditional media is running to catch up with the galloping social media.

Hindi TV has not warmed up to it yet, it looks. Telugu and other language channels are quite far away from it as of now.

Actually, a robust and lively debate on public issues is now taking place more in the social media. Opinion is no longer stoppable. Editors, bureau chiefs, and owners are no longer able to act as gate keepers. We don’t need them as intermediaries to carry news to us. Nor do we need them to carry our opinions into the public domain any more. Not entirely are we dependent on them.

If I didn’t watch television or didn’t read newspapers, a few years ago, there was no way I could catch up with what was happening in my surroundings – be it the neighbourhood, city, town, state or even country.  But now, watching TV or reading newspapers is only an option. It is no longer essential.

Getting on to Twitter and Facebook saves quite a bit of time, I realized. As you go along, you tend to follow and are followed by a pretty broad and representative cross section of opinion. Statuses, tweets, retweets, and links tend to get reasonably curated so that you will get to seeing all the important issues and news flagged off and are hardly likely to miss out on anything very essential.

A lot of people do this curation for you. And you also do it for a lot of people. It gets done by them to you; and by you to them. It happens.

It is, in fact, happening.

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