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The mechanics of social news

Second view from home
Apparently my most popular photo

You see a lot now about the role that the Internet and social media play in news gathering, Everyone has a smartphone so everyone can be a news gatherer. I’ve thought and written about it myself before as well. Then over the weekend — even in just a little way — I got to see that first hand.

To be completely honest, I wasn’t even that close to the Coonabarabran bushfires, but they were close enough that I got a good look and some good pictures from home (see previous blog entries). I literally didn’t even have to leave home, but once I put them up on Flickr and then linked that through to Facebook and (more effectively) Twitter, I got a bit of attention.

Helps if you have “contacts” though, I suppose. I sent a link to Mark Colvin (@colvinius) at ABC , which he promptly re-tweeted. I’ve had some online dealings with him before about kidney donation and transplant topics before, so that probably helped. But from there, I soon had a long list of re-tweets and follows from all kinds of sources. I had media requests from a bunch of other outlets and once I put the pics in the right Flickr group the pageviews went up there.

Like I said, it’s a phenomenon I was quite familiar with in abstract, but not one I’ve seen up close before. It’s funny, because I took some similar photos 10 years ago when we lived in Canberra, when the bushfires hit there. Again, we were never at risk, but it was still too close for comfort. But of course, 10 years ago there was no real social media (or Flickr either) so those pics got shown to family then just left in my archives.

Haven’t times changed…

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