By Gaurav Pradhan
We are always in need of information about the current news around the world. It can be about our locality, city, our and other countries. It can be anything – politics, sports, finance, art, culture. The main sources available are – Newspaper, Radio and Television (TV). But these sources have limitations like Newspaper carries news which is mostly post-date, which is not relevant in many occasions. You need to be in front of Radio all the time, having limited channels for information and absence of look and feel of the news article. TV has overcome the problems of Newspaper and Radio, but you cannot spend so much of time watching TV. And our hunger for Current News continues to affect our lives.
An emerging solution for this hunger is – Social Media. We access news in news feeds provided by different Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Reddit. It is a new and potential alternative of News Source with 27.8% people consuming news from it, preceded by TV News and Newspapers.
In a research, it is found that Online News revenue has overtaken the Print newspaper media revenue in year 2012. More than 50% people learned about current and breaking news via social media compared to those people following official news sources. 46% of people consume news online at least thrice a week.
This shows the amount of impact Social Media has created on news industry. Facebook leads as online news source with 59.5% following, followed by Twitter with 19.9% following of users. Recently, news sites have started broadcasting news on social media platforms, resulting increase in traffic. This is going to continue because of growing access of social media through digital devices, like smartphones and tablets. It has been observed that 57% & 9% people who access news on digital devices use Facebook or Twitter to get news often.
The biggest news that has broken all the Social Media coverage records recently is – FIFA World Cup 2014. It witnessed a deluge amount of response on social media with over 475,000 mentions in its first week of launch. Facebook had generated more than 1 billion interactions by June 30, a special mention for Brazil vs. Chile Match, which generated 75 million interactions from 31 million users.
So what are the virtues and vices of Social Media News?
- Its current, immediate, up-to-date and trending news media source.
- Anyone can report the news.
- Spread is quick with high reach among users.
- Use of digital devices making it more accessible.
- Very few words and characters accommodation while telling a story.
- Lacking facts leading to inaccuracy.
- Integrity of Journalism may be compromised.
- Problems can arise due to immature way of news reporting.
So, it is arguable that Social Media can be a misleading source of news as it has been observed that 49.1% people have found the breaking news via Social Media to be false. But, still its growing user base suggests the gradual trust building with this upcoming News Media source. We can see some news channels putting up their accounts and reporting news in Twitter. This can be marked as a new era of News Media which has a long way to go with making its reach to each individual.
(Author is a Management student of IIM Bangalore having an experience in Manufacturing Industry, Follow On Twitter @GauravToYou)
News use across Social Media Platforms – http://www.journalism.org/2013/11/14/news-use-across-social-media-platforms/
Which social networks are people using to get breaking news – http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2013/12/06/social-networks-people-using-get-breaking-news/