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James Perrin

Social Media and Journalism: A Match Made in Heaven

10th Mar 2011 Social Media 3 minutes to read

Social MediaWhat does the future hold in terms of Journalism? What role will social media play? News corporations are facing major disruption and as a result social media is benefiting.

It’s dramatically changing the way journalists are doing their jobs. If they’re not on the web tweeting, updating and blogging, then someone else will be, and that’s not great for a journalist – being first at breaking a story is everything. Journalists are using social media platforms to gain the trust of the readers too – they can update, comment and clarify – all thanks to the interaction made possible through web 2.0.

So this is the here and now, journalists use social media tools to gather news and distribute news; the irony this is old news in itself has not been lost on me. Rather, by mapping out what has happened and where we are now, it’s reasonable to envisage what the future holds for this relationship.


Journalism in Social Media

From journalists using social media to their advantage we have now seen social media platforms and internet companies evolving to integrate news content – with quality and ‘uniqueness’ becoming far more important – especially post ‘Farmer’ gate [See: Google Algorithm update: Quality Content is King].

AOL and Huffington Post is a great example of a partnership looking to take advantage of this trend. Now whilst AOL are not overly concerned with the creation of quality content, they are nonetheless focussed with the quantity of content – More content – greater potential visits – increase in advertising revenue [See: Huffington Post to Join the AOL Content Farm].

However, as recently as this morning there are the murmurings that Linkedin, the social network connecting professionals, are also looking to provide a news content service called Headlines. However, in comparison to AOL and HufPo, the plan isn’t as gratuitous as ‘content = money’. The speculation is they’re looking to provide a social news product that’s tailored to the tastes of individual professional networks. This idea could see a further step in the evolution of the symbiotic relationship between news and social media.

Social Media in Journalism

Another way of looking at all of this, is that whilst traditional journalist have utilised web 2.0, many more emerging ‘journalists’ who may not necessarily work for a traditional media outlet, can also get involved – writing and curating stories on blogs and various social media platforms. What has emerged is social media as a form of journalism – social news or social journalism. Social news websites such as Digg saw this coming a mile off and have developed a way users can vote for stories that people like, stories not necessarily written by traditional journalists.

What does the future hold?

In terms of social media in journalism – Class will out. Democratising allows everyone to publish their views and opinions. However, people will only want to read quality, well informed and factually accurate pieces. Having seen journalism literally enter social media and come out the other end as a social news or social journalism hybrid indicates the strong relationship between the mediums – but if the story has no substance then no one will care and the beauty of social media is that you’ll know about it too (again the irony that you may think the same of this blog post is not lost on me).

In terms of journalism in social media – there will always be a need for traditional news on one medium or another. In any case, the medium needs to become more ‘social’. Whatever way we consume content, it is more personalised and social than ever before, we like it like that and so do advertisers (which is another reason why the future of social media and journalism is bright). Should the speculation be accurate – Linkedin’s ‘Headlines’ service could prove to be a major way forward for the social media / journalism evolution…only time will tell.

Image Source

Social media concept in thumb up symbol via BigStock

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