The internet isn’t just for cat videos and goofy memes, it would seem. The power of social media has already been linked to a number of worthwhile causes and intense change, such as Twitter’s role in the Arab Spring. Now, a whole new form of journalism and digital news publishing is being beta tested by Reddit, the platform that brings users slightly less intense content on a daily basis.
While Reddit is experimenting with the “open source journalism” that lets users create and update blog-style feeds in real time, not all of the experimental modes are so life changing as sharing the news of disasters worldwide. But one arm of this project does have the power to foster upheaval of growth by keeping users informed of the invents unfolding in the Ukraine, as they happen.
Unlike typical posts where users simply comment on a thread, Reddit’s new Liveupdate threads–while not exactly pretty, in much the same way that Reddit is a no-frills info swapping site–allow the established users to update the information in a bloglike way while followers see the updates in real-time and can access alerts that new information has been added. It’s like watching the news coverage of an event without waiting for the network to decide to air it, and without commercial interruption.
As for these open-source journalists themselves, one of the most exciting possibilities for a low-end platform like Reddit is the removal of network sponsors who will dictate their own slant on the coverage. A simple look at the headlines involving last night’s announcement that Governor Jan Brewer (AZ) vetoed a bill that allowed businesses within the state to refuse to serve homosexuals was simultaneously referred to as the “Anti Discrimination Veto” and the “Anti Religious Freedom Veto,” depending on which news source ran the headline. Reddit users are nothing if not completely candid, as other threads have shown, and will ideally be able to cover events as they see them, not as corporate sponsors require it.
While the new feature is in beta at the moment, Reddit does foresee this tool being open and accessible to all users. And while yes, there may be some live updates to cat memes, there will potentially be some world changing news.