There’s something about this post from Minneapolis Metblogs earlier today that fascinates me. It’s not the subject matter per se (a scoop on the latest venture of a recently fired local weather man) it’s the story’s sources. They cite a tweet by local blogger and entrepreneur, Graeme Thickins (go Graeme!), and the meterologist’s LinkedIn profile.
Twitter and LinkedIn? Why not? Both can be valid sources of certain types of information, both are public, and, most importantly for journalists and bloggers alike, they are readily accessible.
I see this a trend that will continue to grow as more people become engaged in social networking. It wasn’t that long ago that the the New York Times shared information about Eliot Spitzer’s high-priced “escort” gleaned from her MySpace page. I remember watching CNN coverage of the mob of reporters camped-out in front of the woman’s NYC apartment building. In liew of other story developments, they turned to social networks once again. One correspondant had it on good authority from someone “inside MySpace” that she had logged in recently but made changes to her profile.
If CNN and The Times consider the social web a worthwhile source, can we be that far away from other industries taking advantage of this information? It’s not uncommon for employers to Google potential hires. Isn’t searching social networks a logical escalation of this practice? Even current employees are at risk. What about checking FriendFeed for any activity on a sick day? Are we close to a day when law enforcement won’t consider someone a missing person until their Facebook status hasn’t been updated for at least 48 hours?
As we put more of ourselves out there on the web (which I strongly support), are we really thinking about the implications this could have on our real life interactions down the line? Bigger question: What do you think of social networks as news sources?Tags: facebook, friendfeed, linkedin, myspace, socialnetworking, twitter