2022 OMPAN AGM: The Importance Of ONLINE MEDIA/BLOGGING In The 21st Century
By Chief Chibuike Onyendilefu.
I will like to start by giving brief definitions of Online Media and blogging.
Online Media is simply media published over the Internet.It includes without limitation, websites, blogs, and social media.It is a form of electronic communication distinct to the traditional media which includes outlets that existed before the Internet such as newspapers, magazines, TV, Radio and even Billboards.
While Blogging refers to writing, photography, and other media that are self-publishing online.
Without doubt, the effect of Online Media/Blogging in the 21st century has been significantly broad and complex in our society and culture of today.
Apart from its disruptive innovation on publishing and journalism as we knew it before, it has had significant impact on our public relations, entertainment, education, commerce and politics.
With the first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, created in 1997, users began to upload profiles and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today.
¨After the invention of blogging, social media began to explode in popularity.
YouTube came out in 2005, creating an entirely new way for people to communicate and share with each other across great distances.
¨By 2006, Facebook and Twitter both became available to users throughout the world. These sites remain some of the most popular social networks on the Internet.
Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year
iPod application downloads hit 1 billion in 9 months
80 percent of companies now use social media and so also is an exponential increase in the number of persons becoming Netizens.
YouTube is the second largest search engine of the world
Twitter recorded 200+Million tweets per day in 2011
With more than half of the world’s population registered with different social media platforms, the chances of moulding and influencing the opinion and mindset of people are fairly high on social media websites due to its direct person to person interaction.
After seeing these facts, you can truly understand how social media is taking over in the 21st century and how we can only ignore it at our own peril.
The days of eye witness reports on television seem threatened even to extinction.Bloggers now creat their own content and publish on the various new 9media channels, effectively side tracking the traditional media platforms.
Online media/Blogging has greatly increased citizen participation in socio-political matters thereby giving the ordinary man a voice he never would have had under the traditional media.
The emergence, proliferation and advancement of information and communication technology has revolutionised the practice of journalism not only in Nigeria but throughput the world.
Findings show that blogging has reshaped the practice of journalism largely especially in the area of breaking news, interactivity, high feedback, multimedia contents development, live reporting, social sharing of contents, breaking the government monopoly and hegemony as citizens are no longer consumers of information but are now active as generators of information.
The advancement of information and communication technology has revolutionalized all facts of human activities including communication, interaction and politics among others.
By the way, Journalism is the act of reporting, editing and presentation of newsworthy events to the general or specific audience depending on the focus of the newspaper, radio or television outfit. The earlier media in Nigeria is newspapers before the arrival of radio, television, magazine and the recent internet
However, there were no blogs or bloggers in Nigeria until about ten years and more proliferation in some five years ago. The major source of information for the public before the internet was the mainstream media i.e radio, television, newspaper etc. But after blogs sprouted about ten years ago, the media landscape has greatly changed and redefined because people can now access information on the go, either in their home and office, in fact, practically everywhere and anytime information from far and near can be accessed, uploaded and shared with a click of mouse and a touch of screen.
Today, there are lots of blogs and bloggers offering varied information to the public that include general news and articles on topics like food, gossip, technology, fashion, politics, education, children, society, sports and humour.
The bloggers have become a permanent fixture in the media scene that Nigerians frequent the sites regularly in search of information.
The warm reception of blogs and bloggers by audiences is an indication that the sites have added diversity to news reporting, freedom of expression and have expanded the practice of citizen journalism, which initially was limited to use of mobile phones to pass breaking news to journalists in mainstream media houses.
In fact, what the mainstream media will be covering are already in the public domain through the bloggers. Even election results report that used to be the sole role of the traditional mass media are now in the hand of bloggers and citizen writers who use social media to share the result batch by batch as the election progress.
It is imperative to note, therefore, that bloggers and blogs are reducing the influence traditional media used to have on agenda setting, educating, entertaining and informing the public.To adapt to the new media environment, Journalists must aspire in the new media landscape to be the one source that can best help citizens discover what to believe and what to disbelieve – a shift from the role of gatekeeper to that of authenticator or referee.
And to do that, news organizations have to make some significant changes; rather than merely monitoring the official corridors of power, news organizations may need to monitor the new alternative means of public discussion as well.
It no longer makes sense for a mainstream media with over 50 reporters and other staff to remain offline .They should rather plug to the internet to reach out to millions of people because radio and television are already restricted by the bandwidth while newspaper is limited by the circulation and audience.
Bloggers have become a key feature in today’s media environment, growing in number and influence in communication and mass media discourse.Audiences are increasingly turning to blogs for news and information, with some bloggers outshining established media houses in breaking stories and allowing users to interact with them freely.
The bloggers rising influence has made them to be acknowledged as key participants in providing news and information in the changing media environment, where the internet is becoming the main tool of communication.
Meanwhile, the emergence of the new media/ internet has blurred the professionalism and news credibility because of the disappearance of gatekeeper and poor internet law and polices implementation which give citizens access to gather and disseminate what they feel without ethical and legal consideration. While mainstream media may dominate dissemination of news outside the internet, blogs have become popular forms of online communication as the number of people who read news via the internet increases.
There is also growing concern on the role of the bloggers in dissemination of information. This is particularly because most of them are not trained journalists, they operate outside many laws that govern journalistic practice, for instance, the one’s covering right to privacy and defamation.Most of the time they offer information that is not verified.
The downsides of social media%blogging includes the increased ease in the spread of propaganda, harassment and cyber bullying.
Increased incidences of and consumption of false information and inappropriate content.
Malicious slandering of other people
Creating false panic on the masses for personal gains and sometimes for mischievous pleasure.
The challenge before all of us today is how to reinvent the original positive intendment of social media as a tool for social cohesion.
We must begin today the journey of the positive use of social media/blogging as an essential catalyst for the promotion the overall interests of society and its citizens rather than our present arm-twisting strategy that have greatly hindered social cohesiveness and peace.