Balloon Boy Watch and Other Communitweeting
There’s a new phenomenon sweeping the nation. Have you heard? I’m sure you have. Heck, you’ve probably even taken part. I like to call it communitweeting.
Think back to a time many many moons ago…What were you doing when you heard about the little girl falling into the well? Who were you sitting with when you watched the white Ford Bronco speeding down a California highway pursued by police on TV? And where were you when you first learned the twin towers were hit? Different times – different decades, in fact – and different media available to cover this news…and to follow it.
Now imagine all of those events in the age of Twitter and YouTube. You have to wonder how many different videos might be available of 9-11, for instance, if all of us eight years ago were walking citizen reporters then as we’ve become now.
Recent news headlines continue to show us how social media can bring people together with one common interest, cause or goal. Think of what we’ve experienced together as one communitweeting universe just this year along.
- In what created the greatest web traffic jam ever, people across the world watched on their phones and computers the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States, and social media commentators both for and against their newly elected chief executive found a new way to interact with the White House, too. It didn’t hurt that the Prez insisted on his own Blackberry, too.
- Many Tweeters created a unified online stance by changing their profile pictures to green in protest of Iran’s treatment of political demonstrators. The death of Iranian onlooker Neda Soltan, whose tragic image via a spectator’s YouTube video generated poignant international conversation, became symbolic of the region’s political unrest.
- Fans joined in both a global mourning and celebration of life and music as the first news of the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson began to post across the Internet.
- And very recently, millions across the country watched on their phones, laptops and TVs as a 6-year-old boy sailed across the skies in a runaway helium balloon (or so we thought at the time) as tweeters compared the bizarre Balloon Boy news story to James & the Giant Peach or Disney’s Up. Thankfully, he was found alive and well and hiding in his attic. But for that 90 minutes the world was collectively riveted and bewildered.
To those who insist social media is a passing fad, we argue this: we don’t doubt that like most technology trends, social media will evolve into yet another platform, and perhaps under a completely new guise. But for now and for a while to come, we here at BallywhoSocial see many more potential communitweeting experiences still to share together.