December 16th, 2009
02:41 PM GMT
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December 16th, 2009
11:19 AM GMT
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People have been using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to express their feelings about the threatened strike by British Airways cabin crews.

Both the airline and the union have been slammed by people who may be affected by the strike and CNN has been monitoring the so-called “real-time Web” to see the massive outpouring of emotion but also to help us connect directly with people who have a story to tell.

Social media plays a part in almost every major story we cover at CNN and we have millions of followers for our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

We use this huge following, and the fact that we have most of our CNN correspondents and anchors using social media themselves, to help us find people who have a real story to tell.

In the case of the threatened strike at British Airways, we asked Richard Quest to reach out using his social media accounts to ask for people whose travel plans are threatened by the strike to contact him directly. Richard will be featuring some of the people and stories he has found over the next few days on CNN. You can tweet Richard back or e-mail him at

As well as Richard Quest, Adrian Finighan has been reporting from Heathrow Airport all day and Michael Holmes and Ayesha Durgahee will be reporting live from London today as well.

All of them are using social media to reach out to the audience and to direct people to our latest reporting on CNN and

We also use new social media tools such as “Twitter Lists” to collect all our relevant Twitter accounts on a story in one place. This allows our audience to easily find all of our correspondents on the story and to see the “real-time” coverage of the story alongside the reporting on CNN and

Here is our CNN Twitter List for the British Airways story.

We have also added the official Twitter accounts for British Airways and for the Unite trade union to our list so you can see our reporting and the information being put out by the parties involved in the dispute.

An unfiltered stream of information on social media can make it very hard for people to find relevant information and an element of “curation” helps the audience find what they are looking for but also helps us at CNN to direct people to our latest reporting on CNN and

We are also using the power of CNN iReport to allow people to send their stories and images about the threatened strike directly to CNN and give people an opportunity to tell their own story. We have set up an iReport assignment page for people to share their stories with us.

Looking to social media for people expressing their opinions about a story is interesting but what we are looking for at CNN is not just a stream of opinion and commentary, but real people with real stories to tell.

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