A radio journalist who took part in a week-long social media experiment – confining herself and four other journalists from French-speaking stations to an isolated cabin where their only news sources would be Twitter and Facebook – has detailed her findings on the Nieman Journalism Lab (originally posted in June).
Janic Tremblay documents the highs and lows of following events via the two platforms whilst trying to build a strong network of reliable news sources.
On our first night in France, I went online and came across tweets from a man who had been arrested during a demonstration in Moscow earlier that day. He had been jailed for many hours and was tweeting about what was happening. I did not know him. Clearly we lived in different universes, but it turned out that a member of his social network is also part of mine. When my social networking friend retweeted his posts, he showed up in my Twitter feed, and there we were—connected, with me in a French farmhouse and he in jail in Moscow.
(…) With the traditional tools of journalists, the odds of me finding this man would have been close to zero. However, I believe situations like this one happen rarely, as best I can tell from my experience and that of my colleagues.