Social Media Revolution and What That Means for Traditional Media Outlets

In recent years, social media has taken over the internet. We realized this was a phenomenon when the death of Osama Bin Laden was narrated on twitter by a nearby villager. In the Economist’s article “The people formerly known as the Audience” there is a visible shift in the idea of what an audience is. It is interesting that such a small percentage of the population is on Twitter than Facebook, however Twitter is the biggest influencer and source for news. This also brings up the topic of fake news and since everyone can share something with the press of a button, how are they verifying their sources?

Journalism has also been quite impacted as Clay Shirley explains in “Last Call: The End of Printed Newspaper.” Both shirley and The Economist agree that news outlet have completely changed and newspapers are not benefiting from it. Many are closing down or having to fire integral parts of the team because the standard is different. Now reporters must be on top of what is trending and interesting in order to be ahead of their peers. Instead of editing videos, news channels are using eyewitness recordings with no editing. A great point Shirley made was that journalists can no longer rely on their employers to provide opportunities to learn new skills to help boost them into the new social media age. This would mostly affect older reporters who are experienced but have a hard time keeping up with the constant stream of information and technology. I thought it was interesting that Shirley mentioned Al Jazeera and how they have been drawing on social media, which I think is very smart because in the middle east people are much farther spread and social media helps bridge that distance. Not everyone has access or the ability to contact Al Jazeera, however many have access to social media and can even live tweet about a current event.

Social media has definitely changed the way people see the world and how we discuss current events. Robert Wynne discussed the future of public relations and how it will continue to adjust to social media in “The Future of Public Relations: Three Forks in the Road.” He believes that there is still opportunity for new outlets because it is still a credible source and can bring more viewership onto a topic. However, a big problem is that public relations firms are being asked to do more but be payed less because since social media is free it brings down public relation’s worth. The PR professional’s role is changing and now more than ever is it important to be apart of social media. Instead of bring the story to people’s attention, PR professionals are using social media to influence public opinion such as commenting on articles or sharing promotion on their own pages. This move toward secret PR strategy will be difficult for older professionals who are not involved in the social media aspect. However, it will be interesting to see how new recruits will be able to mold these new methods.

I have high hopes for the public relations world, however I do worry for journalism, will they be irrelevant in 10 years, or will they prevail?

Stay tuned.




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