Journalism ethics and social media
Vinod Anand | 16 Jan 2012

Today everyone is a journalist. Social media has given people a worldwide platform to publish their opinions and ideas.

TWITTER AND Facebook have helped people reach out to previously inaccessible audiences, while You Tube and Word press allow people to create and broadcast their own videos and web pages. From carrying the first African American to the presidency to mobilizing citizens in countries like Libya and Egypt to stand up for change in their society, social media is an instrument that cannot be ignored.The ability of these tools to connect, communicate and disseminate information is immensely powerful.

A look at the statistics says the world is switching over: Face book, for example, has more than 500 million active users, 50% of whom log on any given day. An average Face book user has 130 friends. Similarly, Linked in has morn than 100 million members in over 200 countries and territories. You Tube also has hundreds of millions of users from around the world, flu1 more than 24 hours of video are uploaded every minute,The technology has redefined journalism. In the past it was largely one way, today it is totally interactive: if yesterday was a monologue, today it is a dialog where anyone can reciprocate to a Web posting, anyone can comment and discuss what others have said. Beyond being interactive, this has transformed communication and made the world truly global. An election campaign, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or cricket tournament, the new broadcasting spreads the word quickly through a community, hence the phrase, 'going viral'.

Another significant component of social media is personalization of information?which can sometimes harm an individual?s physical and mental well-being, or personal and professional reputation. A Face book posting can, depending on privacy settings, instantly become available to all friends and friends of friends. Linked in can conned a boss to hundreds of future employees through online resumes and personal statements, but cyber-thieves also read Linked in?if they get access to personal information, it could lead to identity theft and online crime.

Social media and social networking, if properly harnessed, offer unbeatable professional and business opportunities. The world has already witnessed how President Obama used this technology to connect to people and triumph in the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections. Likewise, the world is still following revolutions across the world through 'tweets' and Facebook updates. Social media is like getting behind the wheel of Corvette- it's powerful and exhilarating, but you could get yourself in trouble if not handled with care.