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Time magazine’s 2011 person of the year was the protestor, and rightly so. Protests erupted all across the world in 2011, and a vast majority of these protests emerged from ordinary people mobilizing supporters on the Internet for their cause. It is only the second month of 2012, and I already sense this is going to be another big year for the protestor, especially the Internet protestor. In January, an Internet protest of anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA garnered so much attention and support that both bills were shelved. Last week, another massive Internet protest emerged following reports the nonprofit organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure was cutting off hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to another nonprofit organization, Planned Parenthood. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter played a huge role in both protests, thus cementing my belief they are not only here to stay, but they are also some of the most influential channels that exist in the world today.

For the purpose of this analysis, I focused on some of the application tools Twitter offers the everyday user to help me gain insight into the most recent Internet protest against the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. The 3 tools I found most useful were Twitter Search, Twendz and Twitterfall.

Twitter Search is the application tool from which most other Twitter tools steal their power. It allows the user to search for any user he or she is interested in finding as well as view any tweets directed at the specific user. Additionally, users can search topics and hashtags to find out what users everywhere are talking about with regards to the topic or hashtag. The only downside to the tool is the oldest tweets users can view are only a week old. Still, the simplicity from which this application runs makes it the most user friendly tool on Twitter. Twitter users only need to log into their Twitter account and view their home page to utilize this tool. It is located on the upper-right hand corner of the page, and users simply type in what they are interested in searching and hit enter. For this analysis, I made multiple searches including: Planned Parenthood, Komen for the Cure, Nancy G. Brinker and Karen Handel. I also searched by their respective Twitter user names as well as some hashtags. Overall, each of my searches alerted me to many different people’s feelings regarding the incident, links to informational articles on the incident and a broad idea of the overall perceptions of each of these people or organizations involved in the incident.

Twendz was another tremendously useful tool for me. It uses the power of Twitter Search to monitor, measure and analyze searches. This is a more extensive and complicated version of Twitter Search and a key tool for marketing professionals. Similarly to Twitter Search, Twendz allows the user to search any topic, user or hashtag he or she so desires. The difference is Twendz evaluates the tweets as they come in monitoring, measuring and analyzing not only what people are talking about, but their emotional reactions. Twendz is a fantastic tool to help manage a brand as it determines the brand’s impact and the factors that influence it. One problem I had with it was in order to get more out of the tool a user must subscribe to the WE trendz pro™ service. I definitely would not have a problem with this if I was managing a major brand. In fact, I would suggest large companies and organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood to utilize this tool in order to not only get a comprehensive idea of what people think about their brand, but to manage the brand by connecting with users.

Lastly, Twitterfall was a useful tool in researching this incident because it provided me a geographical filter for what people were saying in my area. It works similarly to the previous tools. The user simply adds a search, or searches. Users can view multiple searches at a time and assign a specific color to distinguish between the searches. The tool allows the user to change settings for the speed, fall size, language, text size and whether the user wishes to view retweets. One of its most useful elements, however, is the geolocation tool which allows users to narrow tweets within a set radius or particular location. This would be especially useful for journalists that wish to report on what people are talking about in a particular area, in my case, I could specify Mankato, Minnesota.

After utilizing these three tools, I identified two specific issues I would emphasize in a news round-up. First, I would detail the tremendous impact this incident had on both Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood. Amidst both sides of the controversy, everybody agreed that the incident significantly impacted both brands and as a result their support. How it impacted each organization is something readers on both sides of the spectrum are interested in reading. Returning to my beginning statement, the second issue I would address would be the influence of the Internet protest. I would specifically outline how this incident developed and why it is important for businesses and organizations to be consciously aware of the influence social media sites have in today’s world. In short, I would detail why today’s audience is more aware than ever before.

In Andrew Rossi’s Page One: Inside the New York Times, Rossi highlights the struggle for traditional media such as the New York Times to adapt in this technologically focused age. James C. Foust’s book Online Journalism: Principles and Practices for the Web provides similar insight into the significant changes happening in journalism today. One unifying conclusion amongst both of these sources is that traditional media need to make some significant changes to keep up with the rapidly growing media sites that have emerged in this technological age. In my opinion, traditional media can survive and must survive in order to preserve the integrity of journalism. This analysis seeks to identify how traditional media will survive by adopting new technological practices, while still preserving two key characteristics of traditional media.

Credibility is one of the most important characteristics shared by traditional media. A lot of elements drive credibility, and it takes a long time for a news organization to gain the respect and trust it needs from its audience to earn this credibility. Over time, traditional media such as the New York Times has built a long-standing credibility for its organization. People recognize its credibility and actively look to it for answers, opinions and knowledge. While websites such as the Daily Kos, Newser, The Huffington Post and Gawker are all important and useful websites for retrieving news today, without credible traditional media such as the New York Times researching, reporting and utilizing sources many of these websites would cease to exist. As David Carr so aptly pointed out in Rossi’s film, without traditional media such as the New York Times researching and reporting a lot of these websites would have nothing to fill up their pages.

Identifying what is and is not news is another key characteristic of traditional media. In today’s information overload, many important and critical issues would get lost in this overload if traditional media did not exist to highlight these issues. There is so much going on around the world, and the Internet allows us to hear about it all. Part of the job traditional media has is to identify the most important news. To identify the news that not only affects the most people, but that each news organization deems the most important. As Rossi’s film documented, news organizations compile a group of senior editors to determine what issues are page one material. Most people understand that anything that is on page one is, according to that news organization, the most important news of the day. These news items usually get the most words and have a significant edge over inside items that can easily get lost in the newspaper. Similarly, magazine cover stories and the stories featured on your hometown news and radio stations reveal their opinions of the most important news of the day. In this way, traditional media shape the news as well as highlight news that might otherwise go unnoticed. Traditional media is still the go-to gatekeeper for news.

Until these two key journalistic characteristics become prevalent amongst online media, traditional media will continue to live on. Currently, the Internet is still too unreliable. In fact, the most reliable news on the web comes almost exclusively from the website presences of traditional media. Traditional media is on the right track. From websites to social media presences, they are slowly adapting to this new age. In James C. Foust’s book Online Journalism: Principles and Practices of News for the Web, Foust talks about how social media has become a tool from which journalistic organizations can not only promote their content, but also create audience involvement and become a resource for reporting. In addition, journalistic organizations can utilize user-generated content available all over the web at all hours of the day.

Overall, I think the New York Times has it right. As of now, I think the best way newspapers can keep up with this new technology is to utilize social media, continue to develop their websites, implement paywalls and offer online subscriptions and phone applications. In my opinion, smartphones are the key. They are growing more and more popular every day, and it will soon become necessary for all news organizations to adapt their content specifically for smartphone users.