The Power of Social Media

The 1950’s founded the development of electronic computers which then steadily progressed to computers becoming a common household item in the 1980’s. This would then disrupt the media massively. By creating a platform for the public to freely share and receive information as well as a new mode of communication, society has changed massively as a result. Specifically focusing on social media, it is clear how this change has been influenced but is also itself a great disruption in the day to day lives of many people. Previous to the internet the main forms of communication were through the phone (made in 1890) and the radio (made in 1891), the internet then came as a breakthrough. Arguably the first social media site was Six Degrees following the now common codes and conventions of a social media site by users creating a personal profile. This has now progressed to sites such as Facebook which in February 2016 recorded over 1.79 billion monthly active users (Facebook, 2016). Statistics such as this make it clear to see how social media has such an influential power over the internet and consequently the public.

 

The introduction of social media can be seen to have affected industries such as newspapers this is due to the fact they are rising in popularity as an alternative to traditional newspapers. Online newspapers and finding news from social media websites due to their ability to report live has lead to them seizing the market when it comes to news coverage. Newspapers have been told to “Pay attention to what is hot on social media” (Tess Saperstein, 2014) clearly showing that social media sites are at the forefront when it comes to defining what is newsworthy. The speed at which news can be reported also means that by time papers are released there is already first hand coverage and footage all over the internet.

 

Social media has evolved coinciding with technological advancements. The popularity of Smart phones and the ability to easily and readily take photographs lead to the development of apps such as Snapchat. This idea is then being taken forward with other apps such as Facebook and Instagram focusing around the more around the very modern aspect of camera phones. This has therefore altered the way in which news is created as we now expect images and videos to accompany a news story further we have less interest in full articles. Audiences are now looking for reporters to “make stories shorter” (Tess Saperstein, 2014), this is due to sites such as Twitter only allowing for a 140 word character limit on its tweets, consequently we have become conditioned to being given information in short bursts. This is a clear example of how social media is shaping the way news stories are now created.

 

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