You are now a broadcaster – it’s time to get used to it

We see the statistics all the time.

800,000,000+ registered Facebook users.

200,000,000+ tweets sent per day.

2 days worth of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.

And my personal favourite:

All of the content created in the history of the world prior to 2003 is now replicated every 48 hours.

 

In today’s world every man, woman, child, employee, business or brand that dares to participate, has the access and tools available to become their own media outlet.  It’s an exciting time to be an individual with a story to tell, but it’s also a rapidly changing time.

We’ve all been granted the power to broadcast a personal message that could help to reform a country, as we saw in Egypt at this time last year, or just to make the day of friend on the other side of the world.  But as has been quoted in many blogs before this one, with great power comes great responsibility.

Citizen journalism in action

If a person sends a message to the world on Twitter – or even to a group of a few hundred or even dozen friends on Facebook – they are essentially becoming broadcasters.  And while Tom Brokaw or Peter Mansbridge may have several million more viewers, one key difference is that traditional broadcasters are acutely aware that they’re being watched.  In this new paradigm, there is the potential to have our daily lives broadcast across multiple platforms, 24/7/365.  For most of us, this is a completely new phenomenon, and compounding the issue is a second differentiator from the traditional broadcaster – our personal broadcasts are much more personal than the nightly news.

As a result we have experiences like these:

  • Someone you haven’t spoken to in months runs into you and mentions a detail about something insignificant that happened to you last week.
  • You meet someone for the first time who’s already decided they can’t like you “IRL” because the don’t like you on twitter.
  • You meet someone for the first time after following them on twitter (or stalking them on Facebook) and they disappoint you by being far less interesting than you’d been expecting.

Any of these sound familiar?

I realize that these are Hollywood problems but they’re also side effects of a generation of broadcasters who didn’t go to journalism school. The challenge is, with billions of personal broadcast networks up and running, we’re all just going to have to read the coles notes and learn on the fly.

We’re all ‘on the air’ now – we just need to get used to it.