Last night, I came onto Twitter and asked a simple question: “What’s shaking Twitter?” Kim Opitz, one of my Twitter friends, told me that she was completely engulfed with #standwithwendy.
Having just got online after being offline for a few hours, I was in the dark so I asked her what it was about and she explained that Senator Wendy Davis was engaged in a filibuster to debate Texas state bill SB 5, which if passed would close nearly all Texas abortion clinics and render Texas a reproductive rights police state for women.
Social Media Steps In but Where Was Mainstream Media?
Regardless of your views on the bill itself, what became instantly apparent for me, and thousands watching, was how irrelevant mainstream media is becoming when it comes to covering news issues that matter.
Last night the #standwithwendy hashtag was trending worldwide. Not just in Texas or the US or North America… WORLDWIDE. Yet, mainstream media was barely covering what was happening in Texas and its importance on constitutional rights.
Looking at a few of the Twitter accounts from large, mainstream media companies last night, you’ll see that barely any were covering the event and this wasn’t just on their social media accounts. If you attempted to watch the live coverage of the Texas senate anywhere on TV, you couldn’t.
Here are a few of the mainstream media accounts during #standwithwendy:
CORRECTION… NBC News Twitter feed did Tweet out about covering the event at 12:35AM Eastern time. 25 minutes before the session ended (long screenshot because the Twitter responses are priceless):
In all of those Twitter accounts, there were only TWO mentions of what was happening in Texas. Two. Across the most well known, mainstream media accounts in the US/world.
Misinformation on Out-of-Touch Mainstream Media
The Associated Press ended up Tweeting unconfirmed information shortly after 1AM Eastern (midnight Central – ten minutes after the session was to end) and social media jumped all over the AP to ask for confirmation as over a hundred thousand people were tuned in live to a YouTube livestream from inside of the senate.
And while AP was reporting information that was not yet confirmed, CNN was broadcasting about muffins on TV. While history was being made and hundreds of thousands of people were tuned in on places like YouTube and Ustream, CNN was reporting on blueberry muffins.
CNN did show up at the Senate at 2:57AM and was interviewed by Christopher Dido, the citizen journalist Ustreaming the live feed from inside of the Senate (seriously – citizen journalist interviewed traditional media… the irony is not lost here). It’s too bad that CNN was nearly twelve hours too late.
Social Media = Connection
While traditional / mainstream media was doing a terrible job at covering the news around #standwithwendy, social media was covering it to a degree that was simply astounding. Between YouTube, Ustream, Twitter, Vine and Instagram videos, people got an entire picture of what was happening inside and outside of the senate.
Social media proved yet again to be light years ahead of mainstream media.
An Exciting Time for All
If you’re someone who has refused to get on social media because you think it’s a fad or a trend, now is the time. Connection is what allows us to get informed about issues that are happening right now and most importantly, through the filter of other people. Not through mainstream media filters. Not through the filter of big corporations with an agenda – through the people.
Having this type of instant access is a game-changer on all levels.
Do you agree that mainstream media is becoming irrelevant in so many ways? Or, do you think that there is room for both? Weigh in in the comments below!
(P.S. – The bill is dead and the official announcement was made at 3:18AM… Yep, I was still awake. Way to go Wendy… inspiring.)