Social networks are being used more frequently by Jamaicans to not only promote news, but also to break some stories. As Tropical Storm Nicole passed through Jamaican many locals became reporters, sending in photos and “news updates” on flooding and other weather issues. A week ago #FreeBuju was all over the social networks, especially Twitter, as supporters tweeted vigorously to vent their views on the entertainer’s predicament. Earlier this month during Jamaica Observer’s Fashion Night Out its Twitter hashtag #FNOja was heavily used by Twitter accounts to promote the event, stores involved, sales and other happenings that night. Social networks clearly has a place in today’s media and “Regular Joes” are becoming news reporters and creating new companies. On the Ground News Reports (OGNR) for instance, has Facebook and Twitter pages totally dedicated to news, mostly received from locals. Its Facebook page has more than 40,000 Likes and there are 2,000 plus followers on Twitter. Traditional media has also joined the social network craze, with the Observer and Gleaner both showing more than 8,000 followers. Many local businesses are also now using their own social network profiles to communicate and inform customers and the public of company news and events. The broad use of social networks to distribute news means such information is more accessible and instantaneous. The public, especially those with access to smart phones, now gets news immediately e.g. via twitter. With their smart phones, they are also able to “create” and distribute news. There is a downside to all of this, of course, as anyone paying close attention will have realzed by now. Rumours are often substituted for accurate reporting, and people with hidden agendas sometimes put information out in public that they know to be untrue. We suspect that’s one reason many reports on OGNR are tagged as “Unconfirmed and Uncorroborated.” News via social networks will continue to evolve, and we can’t help but embrace its immediacy and interactiveness. But we should all be careful about swallowing some things too easily.