Are Social Media Sites the New Source for Obtaining News?
Jillian Johnson, May 30, 2012
While print journalism has steadily declined in popularity due to the rise of online newspapers, it seems online newspapers may soon be outranked by another news platform: social media sites.
Surveys from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism found that more people today receive their news online as opposed to a newspaper. Of the respondents, 34% read news online within a 24-hour period in comparison to the 31% who prefer newspapers. Also, 41% of respondents stated that the majority of their news is online, demonstrating a 10% increase in favor of online newspapers. Of the respondents ages 18 to 29, 65% stated that the Internet was their main news source.
What many favor about social media sites is that content can conveniently and quickly be created, shared and distributed. Regardless of which social media site the news originated from, whether Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, it can instantly be shared through various other social media sites.
But, one question that lingers is whether or not the content is valuable. All too often, I as a reader, come across irrelevant or useless content on social media sites that people spread across as news.
On social media sites it seems that we only pay attention to what's popular or what we personally favor. It's usually whatever articles or links are highly favored among friends and followers that the social media sites recommend us to read. Facebook keeps users up-to-date as to what their friends are reading or read. While Twitter may not suggest us what to read, the site does suggest who we should follow based upon interests.
The reality is that when it comes to social media and news, it's a matter of our social groups. However, just because content is shared on social media sites, doesn't mean we find it valuable or useful. But, in regards to businesses, when sharing news on social media sites, it's a matter of providing valuable content as well as content that will attract audiences.
While the differences between social media news and journalism may exist, combined together they can help an online business keep their news current and popular.
First, remember that this is your company, your business, your industry – let your social media sites become a dominate news source for web audiences looking for the latest information. Also, it's not just about sharing any news, but what your audience wants to read about. You're purpose on the social media site is to capture their interest. Once you surpass capturing their interest, you can expect many shares through social media platforms to occur.
It's also a matter of ensuring what you share is relevant and fresh. No one wants to read old news or petty news. Remember, you want these posts to be shared, so always produce fresh and current content for audiences.