We know that information is always highly valuable in any society. The evolution of how information spread started of from the form of “‘one to one’, to ‘one to many’ and now, ‘many to many” (Nafis 2012). One to one would refer to a time very much before books even existed where the spreading of information was by word of mouth or gossip, by human communication. One to many refers to the time when media such as books, newspapers, radio and even news in the television were few of the media people relied on to gain information. However, with the rise of the Internet and social media in the 21st century, the spread of information has turned into a many to many form. Thanks to the Internet, there are blogs, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and even forums nowadays, causing information spread to be from many people to a whole bunch of many other people.
Social networking websites which people use to socialize, has evolved to a platform where people share whatever new information they have learnt. A huge number of different people put up information and this causes us to see many different sides of just one story. Hence, social media creates an “information avalanche” (Mitew 2012) which causes information to be abundant. This diverts the focus of the public on having the need for information to having the need for fast and accurate information. In the past, it is difficult to spread information to the masses, which made information valuable and caused people to focus on looking for information. Now, information is everywhere to be found, everyone is focusing on being the first to get the information. If your organization is known as the first to present the latest news, of course people are going to tune in regularly because its human nature to want to be the first who knows the latest news.
Nevertheless, even with the speed of information people also tend to focus on the accuracy of the information presented as everyone wants to know the truth. However due to the amount of sources providing an abundance of information causing the information avalanche, “it is becoming difficult to determine how credible or valid the information is” (Nafis 2012). Social media such as Twitter come into the picture with applications such as hashtags, which allow users to label what they tweet about and by clicking the hashtag, one will be able to see all tweets on that particular topic. By using the hashtag, we can observe the consistency of information available and it will provide what is the truth and what is not because information which is consistent is bound to be accurate. On the other hand, Facebook has the group application which allow people to talk about the same issue in one group where all group members will get notifications of all posts on that group. Twitter proves more convenient although both websites provide a certain organization for the information.
Credibility is an issue, but with millions of people saying the same thing there has to be some truth in it. – Nafis, F 2012
For example in Twitter, “the sum total of those tweets added up to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles” (Johnson 2009). This is what is meant by “bridges made of pebbles”. The concept of how social networking websites provide us with accurate information is explained using this metaphor. The ‘pebbles’ represent the numerous amount of information provided by many different people on social networking websites. Consequently, the ‘bridges’ are the whole organization of information which leads to informing us what is true and what is not. These ‘pebbles’ create the’bridge’ thus making up the phrase or metaphor “bridges made of pebbles”. Not only are social networking websites so useful in the spread of information from many to many, but also useful in helping us gain fast and accurate information.
Johnson, S 2009, ‘How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live’, TIME Magazine, 5 June, n.a., accessed 6/10/2012, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1902818-2,00.html
Mitew, T 2012, DIGC202 Bridge made of pebbles: Social media and the rise of gatewatchers, lecture notes, accessed 6/10/2012, http://prezi.com/sh7b7p0osscz/digc202-social-media-and-the-rise-of-gatewatchers/
Nafis, F 2012, Bridge made of pebbles: Social media and the rise of gatewatchers, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 2 October.