Jason Turbow of Baynewser writes today about a new experiment going down, saying “Consider it Big Brother for the social media set.”
The premise: Starting Feb. 1, five journalists will hole up in a French farmhouse for five days, with their only access to the outside world being Facebook, Twitter and other sites of their ilk. (Non-social media sites are not allowed.) The goal: To see whether news that spread across those networks is actually any good.
It’s being set up by the RFP French-language public broadcasters association, and will include reporters from Canadian, French, Belgian and Swiss radio stations, who will report the news as they’ve heard it on their home airwaves, as well as discuss the process of gathering it.
Sites like Twitter have been lauded recently for their part in events such as last year’s Iranian protests and the recent crisis in Haiti. Of course, huge amounts of misinformation also crosses their streams.
In the end, it’s win-win for Twitter and Facebook. If they’re thought of at all in relation to news gathering, it’s as useful — but hardly necessary — tools. Should it turn out their users are on the ball, they might soon be considered something more.