Social media as a news outlet

Posted & filed under Mobile, Social Media, Video.

breakingnewsMinutes after the tragic shooting on July 20, an 18-year old man in Denver named Morgan Jones turned on a police scanner and started posting time-stamped details of what he heard onto the website

Reddit is a social news website where users submit content, in the form of a link or a text. Other users rank the posts, determining their positions on the site’s home and interior pages. As the incident unraveled and more information became available, Jones added to his timeline, linking to Twitter accounts and news outlets.

The timeline went viral. As more people read the submissions, more information was shared and placed on the site. If you were watching CNN, FOX News or any of the other major television news outlets, you were missing out. The information was flowing in real time, and it wasn’t on your TV.

This type of situation isn’t new. More than ever, we use social media as a news outlet, watching major news events unfold on computer monitors, iPads and mobile phones. People on the ground level, or like Jones, doing the ground work, bring us breaking news; often simply by being at the right (or wrong) place at the right time. Now, instead of watching Diane Sawyer during dinner, we’re following tweets from @TurboBob5421.
And it’s not just Twitter, Reddit or Facebook. YouTube, the Web’s second largest search engine, is used more and more to see video that major network news broadcasts won’t, or can’t, show us.

Does this mean traditional TV news is dying? Not at all. In fact, most of the major news networks are using social media, in one form or another, to increase audience engagement, offer faster updates, and connect with a younger demographic. How effectively they use these tools however, will factor into long-term success and audience growth. Because they all know, @TurboBob5421 is only a click away.

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