The power of social media has been on a strong upward curve since Facebook became the top social networking site back in 2008. Since then every man and his dog seem to own a Facebook page, with those that don’t slowly jumping on the social media bandwagon. As such the way we get our news and opinions has changed dramatically.

The 19th of July provided an interesting example of the speed that information can be shared after an incident as Rupert Murdoch faced numerous questions from the PM over the alleged phone hacking scandal. While the event took place, users of the social networking site Twitter shared their opinions and thoughts over proceedings. This is nothing new in the world of Twitter, as sharing thoughts and opinions on TV and current events has become common place. What is interesting is was what was to happen next…

During the event a man, later identified as Jonathan May-Bowles (who incidentally can be found on Twitter under the name @jonniemarbles), attempted to attack Mr Murdoch with what appeared to be a pie (later described as shaving foam). Immediately following the incident Twitter was inundated with people discussing it, long before news teams had put together a report and in some cases even realised the event had taken place.

The Guardian has created a short animation that shows the buzz words on Twitter in real-time. You can clearly see the moment the incident took place while also getting an idea of the sheer volume of people who were talking about the event. The link to the animation can be seen below:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/interactive/2011/jul/19/rupert-murdoch-twitter-pie

Whats interesting is the speed in which the story broke. Within moments of the event it was already being discussed and people were developing and sharing their opinions.

It’s apparent that social media, specifically Twitter, has given the man on the street a voice and this could be a potentially great thing in today’s society. The downside is that the man on the street will need to learn when and not to use it.