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Will social media replace news media

16 February, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Social news media

Explosive growth of social news media

Just about every online news outlet embraced social media extensively, making it possible for readers to comment on news stories using their social media, especially Facebook, logons. This also enables the readers to post interesing articles to their social stream, creating another area of commenting on articles, but ultimetaly expanding the news network’s reach.

But will this happy medium last? News media need to make money, they have lots of people that they employed, and therefore they stick to mainstream journalism, things that will sell their articles. The more people that read their articles, the more advertising they can charge. Social media channels do not have that requirement thought. Citizen journalism is starting to gain momentum, it started with forums, build up during blogs and are now full blown in micro blogging.

Twitter is the micro blogging site, at this stage anyway, and the news stream that they generate is staggering. They are first to break news, and comments that people make on news is cycled back into the main stream. It also creates the opportunity to follow news that is not mainstream, and to get another view on news that is mainstream.

What is the value of a twitter account though. In a recent law suite, an ex-employee that kept the company’s twitter account were sued for $360,000. This was calculated due to marketing opportunities that were missed by the company, or so they said. Twitter is seen as a great marketing tool and the focus of many Twitter users is just that, marketing.

That might not be the biggest asset of twitter however, in my view the biggest asset will be the news stream. Imagine a scenario where you can subscribe to a twitter feed for a monthly fee, or instead of a specific twitter feed, a hashtag. Maybe a new type of hastag, where only verified users can post to, the subscribers to this hashtag pay a monthly fee, something small, but through the sheer mass of numbers, this income stream will then become a rather nice sum of money. To tweet to this hashtag you have to register and the owner of the tag need to approve you. But then, all the contributors to the hashtag can share on the income.

This will push citizen reporting to a new level. It will provide more news faster than what the mainstream media can provide. And due to it’s nature, the news that is provided is small tidbits that is easy to absorb. Going a step further and integrating these news feeds into other social media channels like Facebook or Google+, and comments on a news piece can be made on these channels. The big data crunchers can then step in and analyze all the comments made about a specific hashtag and the public opinion can immediately be ascertain.

To cater for TV however, a micro blogging site can be enhanced to include photos, short videos or voice clips. With every mobile device having at least one camera capable of still images and videos, this will not be too hard to do. Maybe a better integration between YouTube and Twitter and you are all set. Media channels will shrink, and people can subscribe to feeds they are interested in. News will become available a lot faster, a lot quicker.

To schedule most of my tweets I use SocialAFK, which is short for Social Away From Keyboard. It is a good enough tool, still need some more work, but I can schedule tweets and retweets days or even months in advanced. When this technology has properly matured, citizen journalists will be able to schedule their micro blogs in exactly the same way.

The news media will not dissapear, well, not overnight anyway. And maybe they are already planning to go this route, more micro blogging and less lenghty articles. No more minimum word count articles, but rather short punches that deliver on news quickly. And if you want more information on a news snippet, you can go into your other social channels and explore the other news there.

With the exponensial growth of social media networks and connectivity between people, coupled with the high adoption rate of mobile devices, the news media will have to change the way they interact with their readers. They will have to react better on comments that is made, and start publishing articles that is less mainstream, but more relevant. And relevancy will be determine by the social commenting around an article.

In my view social media will replace the news media. Maybe we get another totally new social network that focus on social news, or one of the existing networks step up and really take control of social news. Maybe the current social media guys can start working together and create an all-round social experience, or a new social network will step in and cater for this. But it is going to happen, and we as consumers will be the winners 🙂

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