what motivates eyewitnesses to share photos and stories online?

Picture 24

Yes, it's the second time The Telegraph has come knocking on my door this week – do these things come in threes?

"People in the area affected by the Samoa tsunami', writes The
Telegraph's Emma Barnett, 'have been documenting the event by uploading
photographs to Twitter via Twitpic." Earlier today she asked me to comment on the motivation of these eyewitnesses in sharing their photos and accounts online.  Here's what I said:

“The Samoan tsunami is yet another example of a breaking news story that took
place far from the watchful eyes of the media, yet was witnessed firsthand
by many ordinary people who felt the need to document and share what they
saw,” said Robin Hamman, head of social media at social business consultancy
Headshift and visiting journalism fellow at City University.

“For most, this was unlikely to be about finding fame or fortune, but rather
about sharing what they saw with friends, telling how they'd been affected,
and asking for information or advice on what to do next. So rather than
submitting their images and videos to mainstream media organisations, they
post them online on Facebook, Twitpic, or wherever their friends are likely
to see them.”

Mr Hamman also said he thinks this use of social media is going to continue:
“I think we're going to see a lot more of this in the future – people using
social media to give their own accounts of what happened, and others being
drawn into the story, in a more personal way than ever before, after finding
and engaging directly with those on the ground.”