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From natural disasters to large-scale attacks, plenty of unnerving incidences have occurred in the past several years. While people have always responded to disasters in the quickest way possible, the new media has significantly changed the way that happens. Basically, the new media refers to instant access to new stories and the contribution from users to these stories. How have these forms changed the ways we respond?
As It Unfolds
Previously, people were unable to learn many details of disasters until after the event was over. Now, we’re practically able to watch all of these stories as they unfold. Consider a huge storm that ravages a particular area of the country. As the death tolls are counted and people are found, the audience is finding out along with the rest of the country. Depending on the information reported, the audience can experience a number of highs and lows in terms of emotion, journalistic integrity and facts before the final legacy of a disaster takes hold.
While the new media can help people to stay on top of current events, it also enables them to hear inaccurate information, since media outlets will often report information confirming it. They respond by posting it on their own Facebook pages and texting to all of their friends. By the time the outlet realizes the mistake, thousands of people could already believe falsities. These falsities can then take quite awhile to clear up, leading to countless rumors or worse, lawsuits or loss of life.
Having a Voice
On many new media outlets, the audience is able to respond just as quickly as the information and details are revealed. Before any solution is formulated, political arguments might erupt on media sites, influencing the direction that policy and recovery take. People might start to argue over whether federal government aid is needed to help deal with a situation, and others might even start to allocate blame for the disaster to certain individuals or groups. While this may always seem to open the doorway for negativity, the new media also helps people to respond in a positive manner as well.
In the positive sense, individuals are usually able to send help to those in need right away. When people respond on various media outlets, they might come together to work toward a solution. If a particular area of the country has experienced significant damage from a storm, others may start to donate to them. They may start to set up funds or to host events where the benefits go to these people. Through the use of media, the people in charge of these efforts can get the word out there quickly and inspire plenty of others to join in their noble causes.
New media has changed a lot in this world. Instant access is at the center of the change, because both media outlets and the audience are able to read and respond to a vast array of information in such a short amount of time. These changes have both positive and negative effects on the world as a whole, so it’s up to savvy consumers like you to discern between the good and the bad – and respond accordingly. With great power comes great responsibility.
Michelle Jones writes about technology in media. Her recent work is on how to become a latent print examiner.
Image credit: Moore Oklahoma Tornado Recovery via Facebook