Many have dived into the issue of accreditation of social media practitioners (SMP) and have made some rapid generalization of what bloggers, social media users, and social media practitioners are. All bloggers and social media practitioners are social media users but not all social media users are bloggers and social media practitioners; And not all bloggers are social media practitioners. This is down to the purpose and means by which an individual or group can create, share and interact with content on social media: on the web: on the Internet. Social Media Users (SMU) do what they do on-line for a myriad of reasons and on different platforms and medium.Social Media Practitioners specifically do it for advocacy; a work; a profession; a vocation; or to pursue a political, social or religious belief.
Note that Social Media is a mirror of our humanity as such it is diverse and as the digital divide closes it will get more diverse. There will be discordant views and opinions.a plenty. Amidst these are the social media practitioners and what are they what are they not.
First, Often SMP are the writer, editor and publisher of their own content. They may use different mediums — text, images, sound and moving images — to create their content.
Second, SMPs are basically opinion makers that point out things; highlight news; discuss issues and share what they think should be shared.
Third, SMPs are solely accountable or responsible for their content and actions both individually or in situations they form a group that acts as a singular SMP — i.e. a group blog. As such they can be called to account through social media itself; through the community rules and guidelines of the social media platform they operate on (like Facebook); and ultimately through legal action through the cybercrime law.
Fourth, Anyone can be an SMP and if you were to look at the background of each one you will see a diverse array of individuals: students, parents, self educated people and people from different disciplines and expertise — doctors, lawyers, academics, clerics and also journalists. Each one bringing their wealth of knowledge and discipline in this endeavor.
Fifth, There are good and bad SMPs. Some can be un-professional; Some can be mercenary; And, some can be abusive. The corruption and malaise that was first seen in traditional media — yellow journalism; fabulist journalism; haw siao; payola system; jingoism; lack of fact checking; intellectual property thieving; press release copy-pasting; and the practice of AC-DC (Attack Collect — Defend Collect). Similar to traditional media not all are tainted unfortunately these bad eggs tarnish the image of SMPs.
Sixth, SMPs have been covering the different beats for years. Initially it started with the technology beat and have since then began to cover the other beats as well. A number of SMPs in particular bloggers have made a name for themselves in those fields and recognized locally and internationally. Government bodies and institutions have also been inviting SMPs to cover their event and press conferences, It is nothing new
Seventh, SMPs through handwork have developed a community of subscribers, followers and some even supporters who read and react to their posts and activities. Some equal to or surpassing a number of traditional media channels that ultimately found their way to social media. The social currency of these SMPs cannot be ignored. The rise and growing widespread use of social media is the reason why SMPs are invited, accredited and certain instances jailed around the world.
In this respect, the interim accreditation of social media practitioners to cover the office of the President is a welcome and necessary first step because: (i) The practice of accrediting and inviting SMPs has and have already been done. (ii) It recognizes the medium of social media as a channel of dissemination and feedback. (iii) It also recognizes social media and the internet as a democratic space of ideas as long as the accreditation is inclusive to all regardless of belief and content is not dictated upon.