Thursday, August 18, 2011

social media, the nature of news and meaning making, are we preparing our students?

Tweets per second. by @Twitter
Tweets per second., a photo by @Twitter on Flickr.

The news broke on Twitter about the death of Osama, which made me reflect upon how I have received information about world events. Now I very rarely purchase a newspaper, the only magazine I read, and infrequently at that, is now available online for iPad. When 9/11 happened I watched it unfold on the Internet, Osamas death I found out about via twitter, the demise of  the Australian PM Kevin Rudd I found out via Facebook and quickly turned to Twitter to see it all unfold. More recently I watched the riots in London via twitter and news reports from ABC online ( Despite the criticisms of using these sources as a way to gather and form opinions on world and local events it appears that even the more traditional media is also turning to these sources on a regular basis, one only has to observe the print and TV media around any  major international disaster or political upheaval to get a sneaking suspicion that it is not only the general populace that watch and gather news from the social web. So perhaps the new journalist now aggregates these streams of social media bringing to the fore their ability to contextualize meaning within contested political and social discourses. Therefore, as an educator my question is are we preparing our students to deconstruct the meanings that are constructed by others? There is always [His]tory, [Cult]ure and [her] story and more recently the London Riots will be part of British [His][Tory], but more importantly will our students be able to tell the difference.   

No comments: