Drunk tweeting and other social media pitfalls

The private funeral of Jill Meagher will be held today in Melbourne, and there will also be a memorial service in her hometown of Drogheda in Ireland. Events over the last week or so surrounding her tragic death have highlighted the positive and negative sides of social media.

In a media conference last Friday her husband, Tom Meagher, made a plea that people stop posting comments about the man who had just made his first court appearance for allegedly raping then murdering her. Meagher said the negative online commentary might affect legal proceedings against the accused.

This was followed on Sunday by a huge procession along Sydney Road, Brunswick, north of Melbourne, the scene of Jill Meagher's disappearance, which saw 30,000 mourners from all parts of the city come to pay their respects and protest against the brutal crime. The procession was organised on social media.

The woman featured in this week's video argues that the benefits of social media outweigh the downside, but she is well aware of the dangers and pitfalls. Veteran journalist and academic Julie Posetti has almost completed her PhD on how social media, in particular Twitter, are transforming the values and practice of journalism.

As well as an interview with her, the video features excerpts from a keynote presentation she gave at the recent Australian Catholic Media Congress in Sydney, entitled 'Citizen journalism: the Twitterisation of journalism'.

As well as stints in various commercial media, and as a reporter on ABC TV, Posetti worked with the flagship ABC Radio current affairs programs AM, PM and the World Today. In 1997 she was posted to the Canberra Press Gallery as political correspondent for these programs.

In writing about her journalistic career, and only latterly taking to social media, she has described herself as a 'digital immigrant but a journalism native'.

A key driver for Posetti is a commitment to social justice, and a belief that good journalism can help create a better and fairer society. Her reporting has focused on social justice including Aboriginal affairs, ethnic and multicultural issues, and the plight of refugees and asylum seekers.

While still practising as a journalist, in 2003 she moved into academia and now lectures in radio and television journalism at the University of Canberra. While working on her PhD, she is also continuing research into multicultural journalism, talk radio and public broadcasting.

Posetti has a strong presence in various social media. She is prolific on Facebook and Twitter, and has her own blog called j-scribe. On the banner of j-scribe she describes herself as a 'journalist/academic/furious citizen'. 

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Peter KirkwoodPeter Kirkwood is a freelance writer and video consultant with a master's degree from the Sydney College of Divinity. 

Topic tags: Peter Kirkwood, Jill Meagher, social media, citizen journalism



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