Information dissemination as a two-way process


Information has become a two-way process and more and more people expect and are expected to be information providers. The public expect to be able to take an active role in information dissemination if they so desire, as was the case during Boston Marathon bombing (Fine Maron 2013) and Hurricane Sandy (Burger et al. 2013). Keim and Noji stated that social media "transform people from content consumers into content producers". Indeed they are peer-to-peer based and also "collaborative, decentralized and community driven" (Keim & Noji 2011). This willingness to provide authorities, media and crisis responders with information was found to be culturally driven by the use of media and social media (Fine Maron 2013) and contribute to a new witnessing culture. Günter (2009) has shown how witnessing started to be a cultural pattern with the rise of mass media and testimonies in the news. It increased with the use of social media as users are constantly posting online parts of their life (Borel 2012; boyd 2014; Peters 2009). This witnessing culture became even bigger with the popularization of selfies. One of the many functions of selfies is to share with a community a part of your life, to get a proof of what you did or the place you were at. In their article, "Selfies: Witnessing and Participatory Journalism with a Point of View," Michael Koliska and Jessica Roberts give the example of people taking selfies during the May Day protest in Barcelona in front of trash containers (see Figure 2.1 in the original source document), or with the Thai Army in Bangkok after the military coup in 2014 (see Figure 2.2 in the original source document). What these selfies are saying is "I was here", "I witnessed this event" (Koliska & Roberts 2015).

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