Posts Tagged ‘Trafigura’

The End of the Gag?

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

My very first post on this blog proclaimed – “The day new media overtook traditional media”. I saw the Iran Election as the clearest example of how, in today’s world, using the technology available, it is nearly impossible to (easily) control the spread of news or incidents if people care enough.

Last week, the Trafigura – Guardian fiasco broke …not in the traditional press, they had already been gagged from reporting it, but via journalist Alan Rusbridger’s tweet . The result was the Twitterverse went into overdrive and soon, Trafigura was one of the top search terms throughout Europe. The company realized they couldn’t control the spread of the message, pulled their ridiculous gagging order and everyone was free to report the facts.

One conculsion and one question.

Conclusion – Social media is not a joke or fad anymore. Those familiar with the space have known this for a long time, but the sneers and jokes regarding Twitter persist. Alan Rusbridger summed it up best himself,

“Twitter’s detractors are used to sneering that nothing of value can be said in 140 characters. My 104 characters did just fine” .

As with the Iran Election, the Sichaun Earthquake, Obama’s election campaign and now Trafigura we are seeing examples of the power of social media and how cumbersome it can make  traditional media look.

Question – Will companies keep issuing gagging orders against traditional media now they know that there are plently of ways to get the message out using social media? Will cases like this nudge us towards greater freedom for the press and old school journalism?

Sorry, that was two questions!