The depth of internet discussion on current issues
The key issues in the internet over the last week were AIM, bomb threat and the Punggol East by elections. Netizens were fully engaged in very serious and heated discussions over these issues and the intensity and volume of discussions must be a sign that they are things of great concern.
In contrast, reports of these issues in the main media were brief and scant and lack of continuity. This could be one of the drawbacks of the main media as they could not spare the space for a sustained discussion in depth and breath. And in the case of AIM and the bomb threat, both were promptly reported in the internet before the main media picked them up.
The main media is now finding it tough to play catch up to the ongoings and issues in the social media. The availability, timeliness and the space for in depth and engaging discussion in the social media will be an act very difficult for the main media to follow. The main media’s role is likely to be on reporting incidents on a once off basis, and this may not even be timely. The other role it can continue to play is to put up a monologue article, a one sided affair where discussion and engagement is rare and minimal or non existence. It is like a talk down instrument, telling the readers, informing the readers, and that is about it.
The social media is going to change all the news reporting and discussion on national or people issues to beyond what the main media can envisage. It is a totally new form and way of communication and journalism. It is engaging, alive and interactive and timely.