Is Social Networking Important to Journalism?

There is an interesting discussion on Facebook that was started yesterday in a new group called “Journalists and Facebook.” Part of the description of the group includes the following question: “What can journalists (and the news organizations they work for) learn from the site?” Phillip Blanchard of the Washington Post put a comment on the wall with a response, “I don’t mean to be a spoilsport, but the answer is ‘little or nothing.'” Yikes! Is that really the case? From my little experience in citizen journalism, I have rapidly realized that much of getting the scoop on the story relies on the connections that you have. Facebook is one of the best places for building those connections. While you may not be able to create connections in the classic sense on Facebook, there is the real potential for forming lasting relationships (for friendship, business and even romance). I personally have made a number of valuable business contacts on the site and I am rapidly building my contact basis on a daily basis through the power of Facebook. While Phillip Blanchard may have years of experience in journalism and hundreds of valuable contacts under his belt, he would be idiotic to overlook the power of Facebook. I am able to at anytime look up a number of high level individuals and send them a message with no barrier to contact. Additionally, they are the people responding, not their secretary. If you thought the world was already flat, it’s getting even flatter. The flattening of corporate hierarchy has already begun and Facebook may just be the steam roller to make sure the new structure is here to stay. At the time of writing this post Phillip Blanchard had yet to respond to the multiple comments being posted within the group. I think it is about time that he joined the discussion.