Since social media launched, millions of people were captivated by the facilitation of global interactions. In addition, people can talk and make ties with long-lost relatives. They could communicate with partners, get business partners or life partners, make new business contacts with just a touch. However, despite the innovation, people are no longer accessing these media pages for similar purposes. There have been a number of developments since its launch, and social media has now become a big news outlet for millions of people. Its global nature is much more attractive as consumers can get news about events and events all around the world. Social media is even more convenient, as one can get trending or breaking news with just a swipe of their smartphones. This implies that they stay up to date with the events when they have no access to televisions, radio or newspapers. This paper shall discuss the impact of social media on news and how it has changed the face of journalism.
Social networks continue to increase its subscribers together with other platforms being constantly invented. Facebook and Twitter continue to see increases in their users more so in this era of smartphones. Anyone with a Smartphone can create a Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Snapchat account among other sites. Initially, these sites were meant for entertainment only where people could interact with friends and share their photos or life experiences (Bullard, 2013). With time it has changed, and people are suing it to obtain information or businesses, marketing, and news. Many young people also use these sites to follow their favorite celebrities. News has become a key part in the social media. Newspapers are confronted with declines in circulation and are now turning to the digital world of social networks. The new organizations are quickly shifting to social media by sharing news and information on these sites. The increase of figures of journalists with social network editor titles proves that media houses are taking these new changes seriously (Gulyás, 2016). Media houses, as well as new outlets , hope to draw in more readers or subscribers and therefore increase traffic to their websites.
In an attempt to fully analyze the impact of social media on news, Pew Research Center assessed the range and the features of the social media news users in various social media networks. This is a study that was done in one month in January 2016 to February 2016. It was found that news played a key role in a majority of these sites. About 66 percent of Facebook subscribers receive news on it, whereas about 59 percent of Twitter users get news on Twitter (Gottfried & Shearer, 2016). With Snapchat users, about 17 percent get news on the site (Gottfried & Shearer, 2016). It is also important to see that in combination all the users in different social networks sites, it almost accounts for 100 percent of the adult population.
Facebook is the largest social media site accounting for 67 percent of the US adults (Gottfried & Shearer, 2016). About two-thirds of its users get news on Facebook; these means 44 percent of the overall population get news from Facebook (Gottfried & Shearer, 2016). Youtube has the second biggest reach in regards to overall usage, almost 48 percent of the adult population (Gottfried & Shearer, 2016). However, on YouTube, only about 20 percent get news there. Youtube is often used mostly for entertainment purposes (Gottfried & Shearer, 2016). Twitters is also another prominent site known for breaking and trending news. A majority of Twitters users are mostly there to see the trending news or events or topics. Twitter is often known for its viral topics or events.
In 2015, there was the launching of twitter’s live video-streaming app periscope. This cemented their focal point on offering information on live events as they occur. Not to be left behind, Facebook also launched Instant Articles, a test project that permits media houses to put out stories straightforwardly to a Facebook site rather than connecting it to an eternal site (Bullard, 2013). Facebook also later introduced its trending sidebar to permit subscribers to filter by topic and view trending news on various subjects.
Many other social media sites are recognizing and adapting to their role in the news atmosphere, each shall offer exceptional features for news subscribers, and the features might foster changes in news usage. A majority of new outlets acknowledge the trend and have formed Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds.
Facebook has about 1.3 billion users, that is about 20 percent of the entire world population. It generates up to about 20 percent of traffic to news sites (Bullard, 2013). On mobile devices, the fastest rising source of audience, the proportion is even larger and is likely to go up. Journalist and media houses are recognizing the influence of Facebook around slowing gearing their resources towards these sites. Facebook can be enhanced to drive traffic to their websites, and therefore social media specialists are being employed to help with these. When the new outlets promote their content on Facebook, the users have news to read and as such the outlets get more traffic to their sites. Some of the major new outlets such as New York Times, or BBC have often discussed with the Facebook executives on how to enhance their referral traffic and authenticate the information on Facebook (Gulyás, 2016). The increased traffic implies that the new outlets cold increase their advertising rates or turn some of the new readers into subscribers.
Facebook live feed is another feature in Facebook that has changed the shape of the news completely. People are streaming live events, some very devastating. There are incidents where a teen killed herself on Facebook live while in Sweden a woman was raped while the culprits broadcasted it live on Facebook. There have been many cases of suicide being broadcasted live. Facebook live videos have been helpful (Bullard, 2013). In 2016, there was a wave of police shootings mostly targeting the African American males. A majority of these shooting were broadcasted live via Facebook live video, and they helped in verifying the claims of racial prejudice. It was mostly the while police officers who killed the black males on account that they were criminals; however, the live feed proved otherwise. The live videos led to massive protests which helped in tackling the issue of police brutality and even managed to minimize it. The live videos were also a key evidence in court systems.
These live videos have really helped in documenting the good and the bad of the society, it documents the injustices that the media houses would have shunned. In fact, the Facebook live videos are slowly becoming objects of new coverage as the citizens capture incidences, injustices or events that the journalists may not be able to. The social media circulation in itself forces the media outlet to pick up the issue and to broadcast it to millions of viewers. Citizen journalism has emerged in the face of social media era. People are taking it upon themselves to report or share an event on Facebook and other social media sites (Gulyás, 2016). This was initially only preserved for the media outlets. The prevalent use of smart phones made it easy for people to broadcast events and offer information on these sites. Live broadcasts were done during the women’s march, airport protests as well as other protests against President Trump when he made spiteful comments against women and banned immigration from certain countries. Such protests, for example, may not have been broadcasted in the mainstream media; however, there are no rules against such in social media.
Knowing its impact in news coverage, Facebook is developing tools ad programs to aid journalists in teaching them how to better search its site to offer news and events. They also seek to educate the general public on sources they can trust. Facebook may be great sources of news and information; however, there is also the issue of fake news. At times authenticating the source of information can be a challenge (Gulyás, 2016). There have been many cases where many celebrities have been falsely killed on social media, and they had to hold media conferences to ascertain they are still alive. Facebook is taking measures in fighting such false news by partnering with other agencies to help authenticate stories.
As stated previously, among the Twitter users, 59 percent account for news users. Studies show that twitters users tend to be heavy news consumers compared to other social networks users; news is a key activity that drives people to use Twitter. In fact, twitter is synonymous with trending and breaking news. No one can ever miss a trending or viral topic on Twitter. Twitters users additionally use this site heavily in the course of the day compared to other social sites (Bullard, 2013). Whereas users follow news heavily, at times, there are just on the site to follow trending news or occurrences in the entertainment world. People follow their favorite celebrities, football clubs, and TV programs, among other things. In fact, a majority of celebrities or famous people prefer Twitter than any site social media site. Even businesses like interacting with clients on Twitter platforms, customers get a faster response on Twitter than any other social media site.
Sharing and posting of news or breaking news is faster on Twitter than any other site. About 75 percent follow journalists, commentators while about 62 percent follow institutional accounts for news outlets (Osenstiel et al., 2015). Almost 94 percent of Twitter users get news by going through their timelines or browsing tweets of the news outlets (Osenstiel et al., 2015). Others get news from the trending topics whereas others use the search feature.
Unlike facebook and twitters, Snapchat is mainly for teen known as generation z. Although teenagers, might not seem interested in news, research actually shows that about half of them actually search for news. About 44 percent of snap chat subscribers use live story and discover features at least daily (Godlewski, 2017). Whereas about 30 percent of the users use this app as the main source of getting their news (Godlewski, 2017). Most older adults do not use Snap chat.
Social media has really revolutionized many aspects of people lives. It can be said that it has made life alt easier. People can connect with their friend or family thousands miles away in an instant. One can make new friends, discover people, places, get new business ideas, met new business clients, and expands one’s business base, get information on many areas. In fact, businesses respond to client complaints on social media or offer information faster than any their premises. They know how influential social media is and how it can damage their reputations. Social media prominence shall continue to increase as it can be seen through many social apps popping up. Only proprietors ought to take measures to deal with those who misuse these sites and use it to commit wrong doings.
Bullard, S. B. (2013). Social Media and Journalism: What Works Best and Why it Matters.
Godlewski, Nina. “Teens Are Getting Almost All Of Their News From Snapchat And Twitter These Days”. Business Insider. N.p., 2017. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
Gottfried, J., & Shearer, E. (2016). News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016. Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project. Retrieved 28 April 2017, from http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/
Gulyás, A. (2016). Social media and journalism: hybridity, convergence, changing relationship with the audience and fragmentation.
osenstiel, T., Sonderman, J., Loker, K., Ivancin, M., & Kjarval, N. (2015). Twitter and News: How people use Twitter to get news. American Press Institute. Retrieved 28 April 2017, from https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/how-people-use-twitter-news/