The other day social media journalist documentally was invited by Reuters to attend Gordon Brown's press conference. Being a streaming video kinda guy (to put it mildly), he streamed live via Qik:
This went around on Twitter, and I tuned in. It occurred to me that I wouldn't have bothered to watch it live on TV, so why did I watch this time?
Partly it was out of curiosity, this being one of the the first times social media type journalists have been in on a big, proper news event (ie a non-techie one). So I wanted to see what it was like.
But there was also an element of feeling more connected to the events. It seemed more like a personal invitation to tune in (I don't know Documentally, aka Christian, but a few of the OU folks do). This made me reflect that we have become rather distant from traditional journalists. Because you engage much more in a dialogue and the everyday aspects of a social media journalist, one can view them as your representative.
Creating a character that acts as the audience's representative, or a proxy for the reader in literature, is a common enough tactic. In Shakespeare, Falstaff and the Fool (in Lear) perform this function, and in Japanese theatre the secondary role of waki is often seen as the embodiment of the audience. I'm not an expert in journalism, but it seems to me that social media provides a means of increasing this relationship with the audience. This can be true even with 'conventional' journalists – for example if the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones tweets that he is appearing on the news, I'm probably more likely to tune in and watch it, because I've been following his process in creating the story.