Accessibility to internet has brought about radical changes in terms of information and communication. Due to these changes now it is so easy to get online.
Social networking sites like Twitter, Face Book, LinkedIn, foursquare, MySpace etc bring more and more people online, especially the youngsters. Twitter in particular is used by journalists as an outlet to release breaking news because it is not only instant but can also effectively reach to a huge number of audiences.
The development of mobile phones having access to internet has also contributed a lot to have up-to-date information, news or progress of events worldwide.
Social media in general is a positive development, especially for freelance journalists as it gives a huge range of possibilities in terms of getting work! It is very tough to step into this industry and when the only media outlets that existed were print publications, there were limited opportunities for young journalists. However, the emergence of online media has created more prospects for writers and journalists both.
Besides many advantages of social media its ethical aspect especially in context of journalism is very important.
The dangerous thing about it is somewhat lack of control. As there could be anyone create a website or a blog etc so there are a number of ethical issues that are raised, especially since the technological advances move at such a fast pace. Defamation is a huge ethical issue in online journalism. As anybody can write their opinions online and people have so much freedom to express, comment or respond instantly on the internet so it is easy to commit libel. For example, writing a defamatory statement about any individual or organization could be considered libel. However, the problem with the online journalism is where to draw a line?
Despite many advantages of social media in terms of the ability to reach out to a mass audience, the immense freedom people have online can also cause more damage than intended.