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On Internet usage, users, and information

Serbia has slowly awakened, she is rubbing her sleepy eyes and entering the age of information sharing. We began using the Internet completely unaware of its significance, potential and the power that it has given us.

So far, we used to only read, listen and watch content on the Internet, similarly to other media forms. We were only silent observers, while sharing our thoughts only among ourselves and in the real world, in accordance with the editorial policy (or censorship) of the media.

The playground

The Internet has become a large playground, and own activities reveal the characteristics of each player. We are completely unaware of the consequences and effect of our actions and the way we behave. Among the users of the Internet, the number of constructive and useful dialogs, conversations, experiences and opinions has been decreasing.

Man is a social being that has always been interacting with others and creating networked communities. We gather around various religious, social and cultural... ideas or phenomenons. The social networks – and not the media as a platform or a tool – have brought about the mass "consuming" of other people which is spontaneous instead of prefabricated. This spontaneity, without (positive) self-censorship, and the unrealistic perception of our own position and the message that we can send as individuals, have caused the so-called noise.

The ability of users to abandon anonymity and to easily make available their information, attitudes, emotions and opinions to a large number of other people – is the main focus of those who have not yet been able to find a place for themselves in this new world. The playground is brutal, and each applause or, more often, booing, is widely heard, regardless of their validity, bias or maliciousness.

The users, as creators and distributors of (mostly their own) content and information about themselves, have become amateur journalists and editors. Activities on the Internet can be viewed as another form of public appearance and, as in the real life, a good public appearance requires skill and experience. Representatives of the traditional media recognize the necessity of skill and experience and act accordingly – in relation to the available content and in relation to individual users or the whole community.

Journalists and the media

We have heard numerous criticisms against journalists and media companies, mostly with regard to their poor performance in the new digital age and usage of the social media.

Journalists and media professionals are still using the social media very cautiously, perhaps not because that is the easier choice, but because their perception of validity, credibility and relevance of the shared information and content has been objectively rationalized in accordance with journalistic principles of production of news. The amateur media, i.e. individual users, usually completely ignore journalistic principles, while the professional journalists too strictly adhere to the rules of journalism – which have already suffered some changes.

What is a newsworthy information today?

Today's communication channels, easy availability of free technological solutions and their appropriate usage allow the media to gather more high-quality information in real-time and use them to produce various news in a best possible manner and in accordance with journalistic principles.

Journalists who continue using the Internet in the same way they have used the traditional media will be slow to take advantage of its full potential. Application of both old and new skills, especially the ones related to the social media, will increase the competitiveness of the media.

Jasna Kamatovic

About the authors

MC Newsletter,
November 18, 2011

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