DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The controversy surrounding the Susan G. Komen relationship with Planned Parenthood may be historic: It’s become a textbook case of the growing power of social media and its impact may be studied for years.
Many media analysts say social media was the impetus for prompting Komen to reverse its decision to halt aid to Planned Parenthood.
“This really erupted in a very short window of time because of social media and how opponents mobilized on social media,” said Jake Batsell, associate professor of Digital Journalism at SMU.
According to Batsell, anyone who may have supported Komen’s original position simply didn’t get organized in time to face the outpouring from Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
“So they were really kind of drowned out in the wake of the huge opposition that just sprouted up,” he said.
And bloggers come in many forms.
“I think one of the most important things is to have proper grammar and spelling, even though it’s a blog and it’s casual,” said SMU student Krystal Schlegel, who has been blogging for nearly three years.
While fashion is her forte’ she claims bloggers can’t be one-dimensional.
“ I think you need to be multi-talented and you definitely need to know what’s going on in other areas,” she said.
One of the challenges of using social media is knowing who’s who.
A blogger doesn’t have to use his or her real name, for instance, or for that matter, any name at all.
“You don’t necessarily know that what you’ve been told is exactly the case and you certainly haven’t heard both sides,” said topolitical analyst John Weekley, who said the upside for campaigns and issues is that people can get their messages out in record time.
Weekley offered an example of what he could do today if he were still running campaigns.
“I can do in five minutes what used to take two or three days when we had to get a list together and type letters, and review them, then stamp and mail them,” he said. “I’m able to multiply my impact in just a few minutes.”
Weekley said social media “…has made it possible to also multiply the effect because your network goes to someone else’s network which goes to someone else’s network, and so you can send a tweet to ten people and it can reach 10,000 by the end of the day.”
Still, there are cautions that should be taken.
“This is a mixed blessing,” he said, “you don’t really have time to react and think, ‘OK, do I really favor this, and what’s the other side saying?’”
There could be consequences to instant action.
“That’s a big deal when you’re talking about instant reaction to anything. You don’t necessarily know that what you’ve been told is exactly the case and you certainly haven’t heard both sides. But you’re willing to act on a friend’s advice.”