Social Media has revolutionized how we communicate with each other and how we consume information. We can now access masses of information from numerous amounts of resources and platforms at a lightning-fast speed. This revolution has dramatically impacted journalism study and practice, writing and informing people about current events. Now, journalists are obliged to publish their columns, reports, and opinions on vastly different platforms faster as both journalism and social media go hand in hand. So, how exactly has social media affected the field of journalism, and how have they adapted to the new age?
Let’s discuss below!
Expanding the Audience
Possibly the most remarkable change that social media has brought to the field of journalism is the massive expanse in its audience. Journalists are not exposed to just those who subscribed to magazines, those who may only be in their region, or even their target audience. Anyone can read anything by anyone, and it is all available through various social media platforms. Even if someone does not read the published articles, popular headlines are often circulated, and news spreads like wildfire, primarily through Twitter.
Where are Journalists Found?
Speaking of Twitter, over the years, the decade-old platform has genuinely established itself as the hot spot for journalistic content. Twitter is where most reporters, news channels, and independent journalists express their views in a short, 280-character tweet, that often goes viral. News is quickly spread far and wide – an excellent way to gain exposure. Moreover, they can be reported in real-time, allowing people to watch events as they unfold, not in, say, a newspaper that following morning.
However, Twitter is not the only unique platform to be of use to Journalists. There are many others, and social media, in general, is a relatively fast way of absorbing information. Both Instagram and Facebook are also where journalists report, albeit in different forms. Instagram is a picture-based app and is therefore oriented around photographs of current events or stories. There may be a caption, or power-point style follow up of images to give a more detailed explanation of a story, but still short and digestible. Facebook extends content further; it is a platform where long descriptive posts are shared and where detailed discussions take place in the comments.
Commenting, Sharing, and Responding
This brings us to our next point: engagement. A journalist or news outlet post can get thousands of comments, reshares, and reposts on a single story by audiences criticizing, supporting, and engaging with the content. This is a novel experience that did not exist before social media platforms made it possible by utilizing journalism and social media as one gear. Now, the average person can express how they feel about a story as it is published. Often these things take on a critical nature – people express their outrage at the news is being told, and often more readily informed of injustice and tragedy.
The Dark Side of Social Media
However, social media is not a perfect tool. For one, it has provided an information overload. Bombarded with different views, reports, and hundreds of different stories every second, society is burdened and often experiences fatigue in consuming non-stop news. Journalism and social media are like two peas in a pod now but the chances of the hoax have also increased.
It also poses significant threats to established newspapers and magazines, which cannot compete with the exposure and short-form content that social media provides. Old-form, reputable journalism is dying because all information is free and accessible. Everyone seems to get their news from their daily used apps, which reputable outlets are often not a part of.
Fake News and its Pitfalls
This has resulted in a more problematic phenomenon, fake news. One can argue that news sources have also lied and fabricated information for decades. Social media gives voices and democratizes journalism where one can always hear the other side of the story. However, it also – to put it plainly – offers people access to say whatever they want. One can never fully trust what they see on the internet. Fake news can have detrimental impacts on society, as seen through the US election or even the Coronavirus pandemic. This is an unprecedented outcome of social media journalism, which humanity has yet to fully overcome and learn how to handle.
Overall, society has transformed the way it consumes and processes information. The relationship between social media and journalism is an evolving one. We will see it transform and grow as time progresses and adapt as best as we can.
So, understanding how news platforms and journalism is now shifting towards social media – it also means in the world of PR more open news sources and more margin of crisis. So, if you want to evade the upcoming crisis you can always take up our consultation services on crisis management.