News 2.0

Published 20:11 on 06 June, 2006

The 7th July, 2005 was a great day in history; it marked the date the G8 leaders pledged to double 2004 levels of aid to Africa from US$25 to US$50 billion by the year 2010. However, it was also a solemn day in history; the date of the London suicide bombings.

When I first heard about the bombings, I was sat at my desk in the office, browsing BBC News Online. The reports were patchy and the press were obviously receiving mixed messages from the authorities because there was talk of everything from power failure on the Tube to minor explosions.

It was at this point that I realised that online news is generally not a priority to the various news agencies - we were receiving better information via the radio or from television-by-proxy (our various family members on the phone). The online news was updated regularly but due to it’s text-based nature, the impact was limited. The second problem, of course, was that within a few minutes the entire country was attempting to access all of the internet news sites and the load was slowing page load times significantly.

And then I noticed the most recent pictures on Flickr

Emergency services surround the wreckage of a bus ripped apart as part of a coordinated terrorist attack in London in July 2005. (Sourced from Wikimedia)

As soon as the events began to happen, people were taking photographs; either with cameras or camera-phones. Once they got to work or returned home, they uploaded those pictures for the world to see. This, of course, is the beauty of Flickr - it is the nature of the beast. However, this community gathering of information supplied us internet-limited news hounds with constantly updated information and exposure; I can still remember the horrifying shock of seeing the now-famous pictures of the double-decker London bus with it’s roof ripped open.

The reason I’m blogging about this now is because FlickrBlog posted this interesting article on the current student protests in Chile.

Reminded of my experiences obtaining current news via Flickr last year, I was prompted to ask myself whether Flickr is a new generation of visual news aggregator?

I noticed shortly after the July bombings that the BBC began requesting digital camera and camera phone images to be submitted by readers. Clearly the Beeb have seen the benefits of that good ol’ Web 2.0 community spirit!

Perhaps Flickr is, in effect, the beginning of News 2.0…