As the social media and Internet presence continues to grow, it continues to change the way our world is working. First the Internet changed the way we searched for and collected information. It has changed the way we shop, the way we manage our money and funds, the way we receive our entertainment and the way we communicate with one another.

Initially the Internet was used more for communicating with friends and family in a social context. Users were still, for the most part, spectators in the realm of information on the Internet. With the growing use of cell phones, wi-fi, satellites and the combination of all of the above, everyone has the capability and access to be connected to everyone around the world all the time. Obviously this kind of connectivity is going to change trends, especially those relating to how we receive our information.

Mike Koehler, Multimedia Editor at OPUBCO, spoke to our social media class today about how the media is using these innovative social media tools in their coverage. The biggest discussion of the day was the use of twitter during the recent ice storm and tornadoes in the Oklahoma area. In both of the cases, people using twitter were able to give and receive information about the storms through the use of “hash tags” (#okice #OKstorms). Using these tools you can see what other people are posting about the storms, answer questions, follow different sources of media to get the information they are broadcasting, etc.. Koehler said that as they were following the storms people were able ask questions about specific areas, and they would go to that specific area to see how the weather was in that area. NewsOk has recieved national recognition because of its use of social media and interaction with the public in these instances. PRSA called it citizen journalism at its finest.

The lingering question is how will everyone make money using all these free tools? I’m sure someone will figure something out soon, so I’ll leave that one up to the “gurus”. Overall, Koehler thinks that these changing trends are positive. I think that the trends are changing so frequently there is no possible way anyone can predict what will happen in even the near future. I’m just trying to not get left behind, which I already feel because I don’t have a smart phone. (I think I may be the only person at OSU.)

You can follow Mike Koehler at www.twitter.com/mkokc

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