I’m sure you’re aware of the rise of social media in the process of delivering news… I mean, after all, you’re reading this blog. Social media is convenient. It satisfies our desire for immediacy. It’s an up and coming tool in networking, marketing, PR, HR, and almost every department we can think of. With this new turn to social media for news and information, we must consider the impact and implications it has on our culture.
I use Twitter and Instagram on a daily basis. I use my Instagram to keep up with my friends and family. I use Twitter for more news purposes. I follow companies like CNN and MSNBC. I’ll still tweet personal things and follow my friends, but many times I’m able to get links to news stories from friends, or directly from media companies. According to The Economist, people who were once considered “the audience” of news, are becoming the reporters themselves. Social media sites have done away with editors and allow anyone and everyone to share news from around the world. As many of you know, Twitter has a retweet button. Therefore, I can receive information from people that my friends follow, whom I have no personal connection with.
Social media sites are also a great forum for marketing and PR agents. By using social media sites, companies are able to attract attention to their products and reach consumers directly. In chapter 2 of his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR, David Meerman Scott praises Gerald Vroomen, co founder of Cervelo and Open Cycles (bicycle companies), on his use of the web to educate, entertain, and interact with consumers. I recommend you take a look at his Cervelo website to better understand the ways in which Vroomen is making his company relevant in the social media space. Vroomen uses content to drive action and utilizes programs to reach consumers and interact with them directly.
On the other end of the spectrum, critics Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times and Richard Gingras, Google’s head of news products, caution users’ reliance on social media. In Kristof’s article, “The Daily Me,” he says that people want information that confirms their prejudices. I agree with this statement. Why would I go out of my way to search for news from a reporter that I don’t particularly relate to?
Gingras goes further and claims that large organizations are monopolizing media. Social media drives commercial enterprise. Now, on my Instagram, I receive adds in between the pictures of the people I follow. It’s unnecessary. It’s impossible to escape advertisements.
Despite these cautious views on social media, I think social media is our future. Smart companies have realized the usefulness of social media in informing consumers and selling products. I can receive all of the news I want instantaneously. For example… I’m not personally interested in Justin Bieber, but through Twitter, I know he was arrested this week. What does that say about the use of social media?