(anti) Social Media

This year I was part of a team that developed a broadcasting Diploma course. I have been tutoring since 2007, which is rewarding but this was my first opportunity to delve into my topics of passion (Voice and Multimedia broadcasting) and shape them into a structure that allows scope to learn, grow and create.

It was a daunting task but now we are further down the track I can really only now appreciate the gift that it was.

I have spent the best part of this morning marking essays on the evolution of online media and music within a news and radio sense and so the enormity of the changes that have taken place since the early 2000s is fresh in my mind.  Social Media has provided a home to engage, connect, attract, entertain and broadcast for not only social organisations like radio stations, but also for the individual. Whether you have an audience of 1 friend/follower, or 1000, you get to say stuff that someone might listen to, or (even better) to like, retweet or follow back.

It’s extremely exciting for the ‘new recruits’ – if you want a skite tape, or a skite reel, you can build a wordpress page (in fact, we set it as an assignment). You can link and host your own audio, writing, photos, videos – create an online version of YOU. It’s a briliant concept – freeing – if the message is right.

Thing is, when the message is wrong, it still provides a platform. As highlighted this week by the NZ Teen Rape Club (or “roast busters”) – social media provided a stage for them to boast about their activities, and a platform for the TV3 campaign that shone the spotlight on them. It should have provided the police with some evidence to stop them. The numerous facebook groups which sprung up within days provide a vehicle for vitriol – hate towards the boys, hate towards the radio announcers who unsympathetically answered a talkback call from one of the girls, hate towards the radio station and its advertisers, hate towards the boys’ parents, the police, the school, the events, the articles, the blogs, the pictures, the screen caps from other forms of social media, the whole spiral filled with hate all riding on the vehicle that is social media.

Would it have happened without the applause of an anonymous audience? It certainly wouldn’t have been brought to the world’s attention otherwise. Those boys (Hale/Parker) have left a digital trail behind them that will never disappear. Short of an identity change, this light will shine on them forever.  Social Media 101 – be very careful of the footprint you create, the image you portray, and the message that you send, because it is easily shared, snipped, screen capped, emailed, printed and flashed up on the evening news.

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