It’s a popular saying in the world of journalism… “content is king.” But what does this mean? Take it however you want it, but in my eyes, it means that it doesn’t matter so much how we communicate, but what’s more important is what we communicate. Especially in the day and age of the internet and self-publication, it’s important for all users to understand that whatever you publish will last forever- that’s right. You can never get rid of it. It will outlive you and your problems, ideas and feelings.
In journalism, you have to be extra careful about what you post online, because what you say, and the opinions you express, can come back to haunt you. Social media can be a great tool for finding sources, and someone who can point you in the direction of your next one.
So, I know you’re probably thinking to yourself: how does this wrap into user-generated content? It should come as no surprise that there are millions of people who use the internet every single day. Even if you don’t intend to be a citizen journalist, being in the right place at the right time can change that in an instant. All it takes is one photo to be noticed, or shared via social media, and your content could end up on the 6:00 pm news. It’s hard to determine when this will happen, so maintaining a “clean” profile on social media is extremely important! Chances are, if any of your content gets picked up by a news station (or even if you submit it to them), there is going to be some type of user authentication process.
When your name is added to something, you are leaving your digital footprint forever. Because of this, you want your content to be viewed as credible, well-thought out, and posted for the appropriate reasons, and the only way you’re going to get that is if you prove you can be trusted on social media. Let’s remember- anyone can be a publisher. Nearly everyone essentially carries around a publishing tool in their back pocket, whether it be a smartphone, tablet, etc., but proving you are who you say you are is going to be the difficult part- for citizen journalists and news organizations who are trying to verify you before your content is used.