YOUTH SPOKEN

Ready to share 2013′s news online

By Madeline Pena | Published Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Madeline Pena

Congratulations! We’ve survived the 2012 Apocalypse. Admit it. In the weeks prior to “the end of the world,” we found ourselves Google-searching “Mayan legends,” “What time will the world end?” or “Top 10 things you should have when natural disaster strikes.”

When the apocalypse did not occur at 12:12 p.m. on Dec. 21, people tweeted or posted on Facebook their realization that the world appeared unchanged. I scrolled through countless tweets with “#2012survivor” and Facebook posts that said, “The Mayans were wrong,” and I came to a realization. The “Mayan calendar” legend gained Internet hype. People researched and shared the events through the World Wide Web.

Other than the “2012 Apocalypse” Internet buzz, the use of social media played a crucial role this year. Just last week, Korean pop star PSY made YouTube history by reaching a billion hits for his music video, “Gangnam Style,” making it the most viewed video on YouTube. Parodies of this video seem to appear daily, and people can’t get this Korean song out of their head.

Speaking of catchy music, remember the song “Call Me Maybe?” Another song that found success through the Internet and climbed Billboard charts. Artist Carly Rae Jepsen made multiple appearances singing this hit and in interviews included her gratitude toward YouTube in aiding her current success.

This year, photo-sharing sites such as Instagram and Pinterest allowed people to share ideas and inspiration instantly. Businesses began to use these sites to promote products and ensure traffic to their sites.

Hash tags made an appearance in Twitter feeds. Hash tags create a feed of all the tweets using the same hash tags. Companies asked for opinions of products using the feed from a particular hash tag. We took this symbol and maybe enhanced our latest tweet with adjectives or made it seem like parenthesis that contradicted what the tweet said and depicted what we truly meant.

Social media changes make gaining information faster and easier. Maybe this is why the last print edition of Newsweek printed recently. Just a couple of months ago, the publication announced it was changing to an online-subscription based source.

As an aspiring journalist and editor of our online publication, decaturjournal.com, this news was huge. This publication took a huge step in news delivery. The Internet is the fastest way to receive information; Newsweek will put all of their energy into an online publication that posts news within minutes of its occurrence.

I remember discussing this news with people, and they thought this was sad. I think this change is amazing and groundbreaking. The idea of news being a few keystrokes away is simply remarkable. I love holding a magazine or newspaper in my hands as well, but it’s important to take advantage of these changes. An all-online publication will help us stay better informed. We can literally access this forum anywhere at any time.

I was on my Facebook profile and noticed a link that said, “Review 2012.” I clicked on it and Facebook organized a feed of some of my biggest moments and events throughout 2012. Photos of journalism workshops, prom, senior activities and friends brought back many memories and smiles. I used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share some of my happiest moments with friends and family. This social media site opened my eyes to how grateful I am for 2012. So many positive changes and experiences happened, and I wouldn’t take any moment back.

I’m looking forward to new social media changes in 2013. Whether it be a YouTube hit or a new way to gain information and communicate, I believe these changes challenge our ideas on selling a product or sharing new information. Our world is constantly changing, and I’m glad the apocalypse didn’t occur because I want to share, comment and post about bigger events in 2013.

Madeline Pena is a senior at Decatur High School and is a Messenger Youth Spoken reporter.

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