Crowd sourcing is not a new idea, but is being reinvented to keep up with changing technology. Banjo is a relatively new application that connects people across social networks in real time or “a social discovery service”. This combines social networks and geo-tagging by collecting posts and updates and integrating them on a map. One doesn’t need to post or check in to see what other people are doing.
For journalists, Banjo is another tool to use is obtaining tips, information and new angles. In Elana Zak’s article, she uses Andy Stettler as an example of merging Banjo with a news event. Banjo allowed him to see people checked into the King of Prussia Mall in Philadelphia where there were reports of a possible ‘bomb device’. By tweeting questions to the people, he was able to figure out that part of the mall was not yet evacuated. By integrating the social sites and a location, it gives reporters the ability to discern what is going on and where. Media outlets are competitive as it is and this is another method to stay on top of breaking news or acquire new leads. By integrating such devices into a daily routine can help journalists stay a step ahead of the competition.
This does present a question if new media is blurring the line between public and private.
There is still a strange cross section of generations between those who never had a cell phone or the internet growing up but are now immersed in texting, social networks and web surfing. Those traditional outlooks still have a tendency of lingering. With banjo, a person can know the exact location at the exact time. People chose to put themselves in this position, but it is a little unsettling that someone could potentially know where a person is at all times. This contrasts severely with the pre I-generation thinking.
Is this the beginning of the end of privacy? Are we becoming a morphed society that doesn’t consider things real or of value unless they are posted online? People take pictures with the pure intent of posting, go places to check in to and craft thoughts about daily activities. We now consciously make the decision that we want people to follow us, we want to let people know what we’re doing, whether it is genuinely to inform or in our own self-interest. Banjo wasn’t the first of these sites and will not be the last. It can be a great professional tool for journalism but one has to decide how much to share and how to deal with the outcomes of those decisions in their personal lives.