The information revolution has provided society with a plethora of new mediums, allowing anyone to reach everyone with their opinions and beliefs. In addition to these new ways to express views, new means of debate are emerging. As a result of this communication amongst the populace, individuals are being politicized; everyday challenging the opinions of others whilst defending their own.
Consequently the established political parties, in the past to some extent enjoying the privilege of being able to dictate social and economic policy are now becoming less representative of the opinions of the people. Concurrently and in order to balance this new shift, online news mediums, particularly the established newspapers are forming a bridge between the public and party members, in effect replacing grass roots canvassing perhaps without the tomatoes.
With this shift the newspaper is being redefined. In the past being part of the readership of a particular brand of newspaper identified the person culturally and politically, today's readership expect to be able to challenge from the moment of online publication, prior to arrival at a news stand, the opinions of the article's author, whether they be journalist, prime minister or reader. Thru open discussion the readership are empowered with the ability to redefine the cultural and political identity of the news brand.
Twitter, a recent invention which combines instant messaging with social networking is providing an innovative new source of news content. This is especially the case when combined with technologies like Monitter or Scribble Live, effectively empowering anyone with a mobile phone-camera to create a live text, image and audio feed to a website, as demonstrated during the recent G20 protests.
The question has been posed "Why use Twitter when you have e-mail?". Humans are much more imaginative given limited resources; it's as though the mind simply rationalizes: I have plenty, therefore there is nothing to worry about, relax; become prey. By limiting the number of characters in a tweet to 140, we're forced to be creative in what we tweet, whether poetry, image links, audio boos or you tube videos, the result a montage of multimedia; that 1990's buzz word that has quietly become ubiquitous. As with most forms of online social networking, the resulting chatter forms a layer of validation which I find has a positive affect on what Wole Soyinka refers to as the Quasi State and its communication channels.
Already it is quite possible to foresee a day when a news article is simply not news unless the reader may comment; we no longer wish to be lectured from the pulpit, we want fearless intelligent journalists and social commentators who come down and discuss amongst the readership. The addition of Twitter to the array of blogosphere lecterns is helping to create a hotbed of new journalistic talent, encouraging us all to police society ourselves.