Whitney Houston was found dead on the 11th of February. This news broke headlines in minutes. However, thanks to social media, the news was spread in seconds. I personally found out via Twitter. The Beverly Hills Police said Whitney Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. According to Business Insider, the first tweet came through about Houston’s death at 4:02 p.m. The tweet was made by @BarBeeBrit, whom said “Is Whitney Houston really dead?” That is exactly seven minutes after she died. This tweet came out 55 minutes before the Associated Press confirmed Whitney Houston’s death. The second tweet came in at 4:15 p.m. from Whitney Houston’s hairstylist. The third tweet came at 4:30 from @chilemasgrande. He said “My sources say, Whitney Houston was found dead at the Beverly Hills Hotel, not in news yet.” At the time of the tweet he only had 14 followers now he has more than 400. In response to comments on his Twitter, he tweeted “just an ordinary dude, got a text message from a family member of Whitney Houston and I tweeted it #enjoyingthefame no further comment.” Following all the news my timeline instantly updated with tweets about Whitney Houston. My news feed on Twitter was also reporting Houston’s boyfriend, Ray J, found her body. There was also a video showing Ray J leaving the scene of the incident.
In an ever-growing society with technology running the world, this is another example of how news has to work that much harder to come out with statements ahead or at the same rate as social media. I honestly do not think it is possible for news to release ahead of social media. Judging by the amount of people whom have Twitter, Facebook, Path and more on his or her phone, relaying information has never been so easy. However, with information being so readily available for distribution, the question of accurate information arises. There have been many stories that have gone out on social media, which are not true. Various false stories tell about certain celebrities being dead as well, when that is not the case. Some people speculate that Twitter and other social media cites cannot be used to “break news.” According to Read Write Web, just because someone tells the story first does not mean it comes out best. That brings up the question of who is considered a journalist? Right now we are trying to define public relations, what we should also think about is how to define journalists. In a time when everyone has a camera on his or her phone, does that make them a journalist? If a person can point the camera and tell a story about the events going on, what makes them not able to portray the true story?