Where  there’s  chaos…is  there  cash?    
(The  Affects  of  Social  Media  on  Journalism  and  Marketing)     By:  Adam  Atwood     Dean  Will  Norton   Journalism  599  –  Full  Summer  Session  2010    

                           

 

                         

 

Opening    

  As  of  the  editing  of  this  paper  the  President  of  the  United  States  of  America  has  4,615,578   followers   on   Twitter,   CNN   Breaking   News   has   3,201,053   followers,   Lady   Gaga   has   5,051,745   followers   and   Coca-­‐Cola   has   60,560   followers.   And   there   are   now   over   500   million  active  users  on  Facebook  that  accumulate  over  500  billion  (yes,  billion)  minutes  per   month.   Let   these   numbers   sink   in   for   a   minute   and   you   will   understand   why   corporate   America,   the   news   media   and   every   politician   in   the   country   is   clamoring   to   not   just   get   involved  with  social  media  but  how  can  they  leverage  it  without  it  backfiring.  Technology   created   social   media   but   the   public   is   certainly   driving   the   growth   and   consumption   at   a   rate   incomparable   to   any   other   mass   communication   ecosystem   in   history.   The   adoption   rate   and   usage   type   between   age   groups   is   astounding   and   moves   in   different   directions   almost  on  a  monthly  basis.  The  question  of  the  day  is  “how  many  new  social  media  apps,   websites   or   widgets   have   you   been   exposed   to   by   friends   or   family   in   just   the   past   30   days?”  The  answer  is  that  you  probably  don’t  remember  but  it’s  been  more  than  you  can  or   want  to  keep  up  with.       Social   media’s   growth   is   not   just   changing   the   way   the   public   consumes   news   and   how   marketers   in   return   engage   with   them,   it   is   changing   the   very   fabric   in   which   how   we   communicate  as  a  society.  Start  with  the  younger  generation  (16-­‐34)  of  Facebookers  who   care   about   the   “fun”   aspect   of   social   media,   then   compare   them   to   the   next   generation   (35-­‐ 49)   of   Tweeters   who   use   social   media   for   building   business   and   networking   and   the   last   generation  (50+)  that  use  the  blogosphere  to  promote  their  ideas  and  communicate  to  the   younger  generation  what  they  have  learned  in  life.  If  the  dialogue  is  changing  and  the  usage   of  that  dialogue  is  mixed  between  generations,  then  that  means  everything  changes  with  it.   From  how  the  dialogue  is  started  (Twitter,  Facebook,  YouTube  etc),  how  you  interact  with   it  (mobile,  laptop,  email,  text  etc)  and  what  you  do  with  the  information  (Tweet,  forward,   repost  etc).  The  bottom  line,  social  media’s  growth  is  a  good  thing  and  a  bad  thing.       These   audience   numbers   don’t   lie.   They   tell   a   story.   From   politics,   entertainment,   journalism  and  corporate  America,  social  media  has  its  place,  followers  and  unspoken  rules  

 

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of  engagement.  The  numbers  prove  that  social  media’s  original  foundation  of  escaping  the   noise,   connecting   with   strangers,   having   a   voice   amongst   thousands   and   finding   companionship   in   unfiltered   communication   might   have   been   the   heart   and   soul   of   the   phenomenon,   but   the   game   is   changing.   Who   would   have   thought   just   ten   years   ago   that   you   could   have   a   one-­‐on-­‐one   dialogue   with   the   President   or   slander   one   of   the   world’s   largest  corporate  brands  and  have  millions  hear  your  opinion  in  minutes?       “To  find  something  comparable,  you  have  to  go  back  500  years  to  the  printing  press,  the  birth   of   mass   media…Technology   is   shifting   power   away   from   the   editors,   the   publishers,   the   establishment,  the  media  elite.  Now  it’s  the  people  who  are  taking  control.”  –  Rupert  Murdoch       Social   media   began   as   sort   of   a   novelty,   or   a   playground   for   the   technology   adopters   and   the   geeks   of   the   Internet.   But   the   game   has   changed   forever   and   the   sheer   volume,   popularity  and  power  of  it  is  reshaping  society  all  together.  Why  does  the  average  teenager   send   5000   text   messages   per   month?   Remember,   the   numbers   don’t   lie.   Consumers   now   have   the   luxury   of   mass   communications.   It’s   not   just   keeping   in   touch   with   grandma   anymore,   it’s   about   looking   out   your   window   and   seeing   a   car   explode   in   downtown   Los   Angeles   and   then   tweeting   about   it   with   a   link   to   your   blog   which   has   the   video   clip   you   shot  with  your  cell  phone.  All  this  before  CNN  gets  back  from  its  commercial  TV  break.       While  the  growth  of  social  media  began  with  such  things  like  AOL,  Napster,  Wikipedia  and   the  movie  “You’ve  Got  Mail”  the  real  explosion  developed  with  free  services  like  MySpace,   Facebook,  Wordpress  and  Twitter.    Where  is  the  next  growth  of  social  media?  And  how  will   news  outlets  continue  to  adapt  to  the  challenges  that  social  media  presents  to  journalism.   Just  as  the  news  media  world  is  reeling  in  social  media’s  power,  so  are  the  marketers  of  the   world.   Why   is   it   that   some   of   the   most   awarded   ad   campaigns   in   the   last   two   years   have   been   “consumer-­‐generated   campaigns?”   Marketers   historically   care   about   two   things:   engaging   their   audiences   and   retaining   their   attention.   Those   two   founding   principles   of   marketing  are  still  the  bread  and  butter  of  measuring  success,  but  the  methods  of  achieving   them   are   becoming   so   scattered   that   it’s   hard   to   tell   the   difference   between   marketing   and   evangelism  through  social  media.       3  

From   the   marketing   spend   basis,   Forrester   Research   is   estimating   that   social   media   spending   will   increase   to   $3.1   billion   by   2014,   with   over   $900   million   being   spent   in   2010.   This   growth   would   be   pacing   at   34%   per   year   –   faster   than   any   other   form   of   online   marketing  and  double  the  average  of  any  other  form  of  traditional  marketing.       “The  reality  is  that  most  businesses  understand  how  to  listen,  what  to  measure  and  where  to   engage  but  are  struggling  to  define  the  value  of  engagement  and  reputation  in  social  spaces,”   said  Michelle  Goodall,  Econsultancy’s  social  media  and  online  PR  consultant.    

History  of  Social  Media  
So   what   is   the   definition   of   social   media?   While   the   term   is   not   yet   defined   in   Webster’s   Dictionary,  Wikipedia  describes  it  this  way:       Social   media   are   media   for   social   interaction,   using   highly   accessible   and   scalable   publishing   techniques.   Social   media   use   web-­based   technologies   to   transform   and   broadcast   media   monologues   into   social   media   dialogues.   They   support   the   democratization   of   knowledge   and   information   and   transform   people   from   content   consumers   to   content   producers...that   allow   the   creation   and   exchange   of   user-­ generated   content.   Social   media   utilization   is   believed   to   be   a   driving   force   in   defining   the  current  period  as  the  Attention  Age.    -­  Wikipedia     So   based   on   this   explanation   the   examples   of   social   media   are   almost   endless   now   days.   There   is   a   theory   that   social   media   really   began   in   the   1950’s   with   phone   phreaking.   Phreaking   was   when   a   group   of   people   would   hijack   one   or   several   phone   lines   and   communicate   back   and   forth   for   free.   The   process   of   communicating   back   and   forth   free   of   charge  is  a  large  portion  of  what  makes  up  social  media  today.  Social  media  at  its  roots  is   about  socializing  and  information  gathering.  There  is  an  inherent  understanding  that  when   you  seek  information  that  is  otherwise  not  widely  published  through  traditional  channels,   some   rules   may   have   to   be   broken   in   order   to   obtain   the   information   you   desire.   Phone  

 

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phreaking  was  definitely  breaking  the  rules  -­‐  it  was  actually  illegal  but  it  was  the  first  case   where  people  were  exchanging  information  for  free  with  no  filters.       By   the   1970’s   phreaking   had   developed   into   what   is   called   BBSes   (bulletin   board   systems).   BBSes   were   small   servers   powered   by   home   computers   attached   to   a   telephone   modem.   These   setups   worked   much   like   blogs   and   forums   do   today.   You   could   engage   in   community   discussions,   play   online   games,   upload/download   files   and   talk   directly   with   the   computer   system.   I’m   sure   all   of   us   remember   the   1983   movie   “War   Games”   where   Matthew  Broderick   talked   with   the   WOPR  computer  system  and  nearly  started  WWIII.   The   BBSes   were   definitely   for   the   technology   nerds   that   enjoyed   hacking   into   computer   systems   and   setting   up   their   own   little   community   of   other   hackers.   Due   to   the   nature   of   how  these  systems  were  created,  the  identities  of  the  participants  were  strictly  confidential   and  personal  information  sharing  was  kept  to  a  minimum.       As  the  early  1990’s  arrived  and  the  World  Wide  Web  became  a  household  phrase,  websites   like   Compuserve   and   Prodigy   were   launched   and   social   media   became   a   more   mainstream.   As   AOL   entered   the   mainstream   market,   so   did   the   speed   of   the   Internet,   which   truly   opened  the  doors  to  information  sharing,  connecting  and  thus  social  media  was  born.       The  real   social  media  networking  sites  began  to  appear  with  such  sites  like  Friendster  and   MySpace.   These   websites   really   took   social   media   to   the   next   level,   which   were   people   using  it  in  everyday  life.  The  Internet  was  now  becoming  the  communication  vehicle  that   people  used  in  order  to  make  new  friends,  stay  in  touch  with  family  and  college  buddies,   and   to   research   restaurants   or   vacation   destinations.   Consumers   created   thousands   of   reasons  to  use  social  media,  and  capitalism  answered  their  needs  with  start-­‐up  companies   popping   up   left   and   right.   Individuals   in   college   dorm   rooms   up   to   large   software   companies   were   beginning   to   create   social   media   websites   that   answered   the   questions   “what  if  people  wanted  to  talk  about  this,  or  share  that,  or  fill  in  the  blank”.  Interestingly   enough  it  was  the  small  one  or  two  man  shops  that  were  exploding  overnight.  This  tells  you   something   about   the   philosophy   and   perception   the   public   had   about   using   social   media.   They   didn’t   want   to   put   one   stinking   penny   in   the   pocket   of   a   corporation.   Through   the     5  

growth,   people   began   to   open   up   and   not   worry   about   sharing   personal   information,   matter   of   fact,   the   more   personal   information   you   shared   the   more   fans   and   friends   you   would  collect.    It  was  all  about  being  “real”  and  transparent,  sharing  every  little  detail  about   your  life.  The  shift  in  consumer  behavior  had  begun,  and  it  would  never  return  to  the  days   of  the  traditional  channels  of  communicating.       Consumers’   behaviors   have   always   shifted   with   the   advancements   in   technology   and   the   lowering   of   government   regulations   and   corporate   involvement.   Looking   at   history,   people   have   always   strived   to   have   a   voice,   and   to   broaden   the   reach   of   that   voice   to   as   many   people   as   they   can.   This   is   also   the   goal   of   news   media.   Everything   from   the   creation   of   the   printing   press   to   the   telephone,   advancing   the   reach   and   frequency   of   communications   has   always  been  at  the  heart  and  soul  of  the  advancements.  The  Internet  is  inherently  a  “free”   space   in   which   to   communicate   with   very   little   oversight   from   the   government   and   corporate   America.   This   free   space   has   developed   from   small   community   forums   to   international   chat   rooms   with   hundreds   of   nationalities   being   represented.   Technological   advances   enabled   the   movement   of   social   media,   but   consumers   themselves   are   the   real   drivers  of  the  next  generation  of  social  media  breakthroughs.       Just  look  at  how  Facebook  was  started;  it  was  created  in  2004  by  a  college  student  out  of   his  dorm  room  at  Harvard  University.  Who  would  have  thought  just  six  years  prior  that  a   college   student   would   be   the   CEO   of   the   world’s   largest   online   social   network   with   over   500   million   active   users?   That   is   the   entire   population   of   the   United   States   plus   another   150  million  people.  I  know  anyone  can  do  the  math  but  saying  it  that  way  makes  my  eyes   pop.  How  does  a  college  student  see  the  future?  Easy,  he  saw  an  opportunity  for  people  to   freely   communicate   in   masses.   By   nature,   humans   want   to   connect,   feel   wanted   and   respected.  Social  media  has  given  a  voice  to  those  who  might  otherwise  be  shy  and  timid  in   real   life.   Just   like   a   goldsmith   named   Johannes   Gutenberg   in   1440   who   created   the   first   printing  press  which  enabled  mass  distribution  (what  they  considered  mass)  of  literature,   Mark  Zuckerberg  who  created  the  world’s  first  real-­‐time  message  board.  The  printing  press   changed   the   world,   and   so   did   the   telephone,   but   social   media   is   more   than   just   a   catalyst…it   is   a   change   that   is   affecting   everything   from   politics,   technology   and     6  

communication   skills.   The   last   part   of   that   sentence   raises   the   big   question   of   “is   social   media  making  us  dumber.”  That’s  a  whole  other  paper.       Below  is  a  diagram  to  explain  how  social  media  is  embedded  in  almost  every  aspect  of  daily   communications.   Whether   you   are   checking   headlines,   playing   music,   watching   videos   or   networking,  you  can  engage  at  every  step:      

   

 

Social  Media  continues  to  change  Journalism  
The   talking   heads   of   the   media   industry   have   literally   talked   the   subject   of   ‘how   will   the   daily   newspapers   financially   survive   the   mainstream   Web   2.0   digital   age   and   the   social   media  revolution?’  That  entire  subject  matter  is  wide  enough  and  deep  enough  that  it  can   be   a   whole   separate   paper,   if   not   a   book.   The   focus   of   this   paper   is   about   how   is   social     7  

media   affecting   news   organizations   and   how   are   journalists   using   social   media   and   adapting  it  to  their  reporting,  research,  engagement  and  distribution  practices.       Journalism  and  social  media  actually  have  a  lot  in  common.  At  the  core  they  both  symbolize   free   speech,   transparency   of   information,   honesty   and   giving   a   voice   to   the   person   that   doesn’t   have   one.   There   are   more   commonalities   than   there   are   differences.   Just   because   someone   tweets   about   a   newsworthy   story   on   his   or   her   twitter   account   doesn’t   make   him   or  her  a  professional  journalist  by  any  stretch.  Journalists  have  a  code  of  ethics  that  must   be  followed  and  a  rigid  process  of  news  desk  policies  that  must  substantiate  information.  In   fact,   journalism   schools   across   the   country   are   now   teaching   their   students   on   how   to   embrace  social  media  and  use  it  for  the  power  that  it  delivers  –  speed  to  information  and   interaction   with   their   audiences.   In   the   past,   journalists   would   simply   report   on   the   facts   about   breaking   news   and   publish   their   articles   as   quickly   as   possible   in   the   dailies.   The   largest  change  in  this  process  is  that  readers  now  want  to  react  to  the  content  with  their   own  opinions  and  consume  the  content  how  they  see  fit.  The  people  want  a  voice,  not  just   the  journalists.       For  better  or  worse  the  world  is  changing  and  the  list  of  social  media  websites,  tools  and   widgets   could   run   on   for   pages.   So   it’s   about   time   that   news   organizations   start   seeing   this   as   an   opportunity   instead   of   a   threat.   The   traditional   news   days   of   just   pumping   out   content   and   making   it   available   to   the   public   are   dead,   the   public   wants   to   choose   what   they  read,  and  most  want  to  take  it  the  next  level,  which  is  they  want  to  actually  contribute   content   and   provide   their   own   opinions   in   masses.   The   question   of   ‘how   is   social   media   affecting   journalism’   is   rather   complex   and   there   really   isn’t   a   straightforward   one-­‐ dimension  answer.         In  order  to  understand  how  social  media  is  affecting  journalism,  you  first  have  to  research   how  people  consume  their  news  and  then  see  what  their  opinions  are  of  the  news  industry   in  general.  The  Pew  Research  Center  for  the  People  and  the  Press  has  found  that  people  are   less  confident  that  news  organizations  are  reporting  factual  and  unbiased  news  compared   to   a   few   decades   ago.   According   to   their   survey,   29   percent   say   the   media   reports   the   facts     8  

correctly,   while   63   percent   say   the   news   stories   are   often   inaccurate.   Compare   these   percentages   to   1985,   where   55   percent   of   people   say   the   media   reported   the   news   accurately  and  only  35  percent  said  the  news  was  inaccurate.  And  to  no  surprise  60  percent   of  consumers  feel  that  the  media  has  become  politically  biased  on  their  reporting.  Just  look   at   the   different   positions   that   CNN   and   Fox   News   will   have   on   the  exact   same   story.   CNN   is   considered  left  wing  and  liberal  and  Fox  News  is  seen  as  right  wing  and  conservative.  The   report   also   describes   how   consumers   will   depend   on   different   mediums   for   different   types   of   news.   Large   TV   networks   and   the   Internet   are   the   leaders   when   it   comes   national   or   international   news,   but   local   weeklies,   dailies   and   news   websites   still   have   a   strong   position   for   in-­‐depth   local   news.   This   all   makes   sense   on   the   surface,   but   when   you   look   into   the   details   of   how   audiences   are   consuming   news   it   causes   news   organizations   to   restructure  their  business  in  a  certain  way  to  meet  those  demands.         It’s  also  no  surprise  that  the  18-­‐34  year  old  age  group  has  experienced  the  largest  decline   in   traditional   media   usage.   They   are   consumers   of   “give   me   what   I   want   now   and   I’ll   verify   the   facts   later.”   That   same   age   group   makes   up   the   base   of   social   media   usage,   but   not   necessarily  the  growth  of  social  media.  Social  media’s  impact  is  two-­‐fold,  not  only  are  the   traditional  media  outlets  losing  ground  with  the  younger  audiences,  but  the  fastest  growing   age  group  that  is  starting  to  use  social  media  on  a  daily  basis  is  the  50+  audiences.  That  age   group  is  growing  at  twice  the  pace  as  the  younger  audiences.  And  both  sets  of  age  groups   say  newspapers  need  to  change  to  stay  relevant,  yet  both  groups  report  they  are  not  willing   to  pay  to  read  the  same  content  on  the  web.  There  is  the  rub!  This  situation  is  at  the  crux  of   the   problem   for   news   organizations   across   the   globe.   How   do   they   stay   relevant   and   profitable  when  no  one  seems  to  be  willing  to  pay  for  content  anymore?       In  order  for  newspapers  (and  other  media  outlets)  to  stay  relevant  and  hopefully  profitable   they  must  start  doing  a  better  job  of  embracing  social  media  and  learn  how  to  use  it  as  an   advantage  and  not  stop  viewing  it  as  a  threat.    Any  media  outlet  that  still  views  the  news  as   a   one-­‐way   communication,   and   not   a   two-­‐way   engagement   is   sorely   mistaken.   Yes,   consumers   don’t   want   to   pay   for   content   anymore,   and   they   want   their   news   in   different   formats   and   they   want   the   information   at   lightening   speed.   But   social   media   is   about     9  

listening  and  interacting  as  well,  which  is  ironically  the  historical  definition  of  journalism.   The   savior   of   the   news   media   industry   may   well   be   the   hiring   of   the   next   generation   of   journalists,  kids  out  of  school.  The  age  group  stuck  in  the  middle  is  sort  of  lost  in  translation   at   the   moment,   but   a   good   mix   of   young   and   the   “old   school”   journalists   might   be   the   answer.  One  group  can  implement  successful  social  media  engagement  strategies,  while  the   older   more   “follow   the   book”   type   businessmen   in   news   media   can   help   stay   the   course   with  ethics.  Somewhere  in  that  mix  is  the  new  world  news-­‐reporting  model.       “Journalism  is  about  listening,  so  if  you  aren’t  listening  to  people  who  are  talking  then  you  are   not  doing  your  job.”  –  Monica  Guzman,  seatlepi.com     Consumers   are   beginning   to   see   this   take   place   with   media   outlets   integrating   their   Facebook  and  Twitter  presence  into  their  daily  broadcasts  and  reporting.  The  integration   process   seems   clumsy   at   best   in   most   situations   because   it   is   painfully   obvious   that   the   majority  of  the  media  still  sees  social  media  as  a  necessary  evil  at  this  point.  So,  instead  of   just   turning   their   heads   and   ignoring   it,   the   media   is   trying   everything   that   can   to   show   their  audiences  that  they  are  actively  involved  with  social  media  and  want  to  engage  with   their   audiences   beyond   the   traditional   news   vehicles.   A   true   ‘social   journalist’   understands   the  strategy  of  this  engagement  process  with  the  audiences,  and  those  are  the  journalists  of   the  future.  It  could  be  said  that  social  networks  are  in  a  way  the  new  form  of  the  editorial   page  of  a  newspaper,  but  unfiltered.  The  overwhelming  question  for  news  organizations  is   ‘how  do  we  engage  with  our  audiences  when  we  know  they  don’t  trust  us  and  they  know   we  need  them?’     The   historical   objective   of   the   media   is   to   create   a   dedicated   audience   that   desires   the   content   that   they   publish,   and   social   media’s   objective   is   to   create   a   community   where   people   can   connect   and   collaborate.     Those   who   are   using   social   media   correctly   don’t   create   and   publish   content   but   they   generate   conversations,   which   in   turn   creates   communities.  This  embracing  of  the  community  strategy  has  become  the  status  quo  online   and  serves  as  one  of  the  main  reasons  people  even  use  the  Internet  on  a  daily  basis.  Simply   put,   consumers   don’t   want   to   be   fed   information   anymore,   they   want   to   share   it   and     10  

interact  with  it.  They  want  engagement  with  content,  people  and  overall  community.  They   don’t  want  one-­‐way  communications.       “People   expect   to   be   listened   to   when   they   have   knowledge   and   raise   questions.   They   want   news   that   connects   with   their   lives   and   interests.   They   want   control   over   their   information.   And  they  want  connection  —  they  give  their  trust  to  those  they  engage  with  —  people  who   talk  with  them,  listen  and  maintain  a  relationship”  –  Michael  Skoler,  Nieman  Reports     Journalism   must   become   a   partnership   with   consumers,   and   the   sooner   the   media   embraces  this  new  way  of  journalism  the  better  the  chance  that  most  outlets  will  survive.   Media   is   no   longer   easily   described   as   TV,   magazines   and   newspapers   anymore.   The   actual   people   have   become   the   media   in   a   way.   Technology   has   empowered   people   to   post   massive   amounts   of   content   (text,   video,   podcast,   photos   etc)   on   the   Internet   with   very   little   costs   involved.   But,   consumers   are   not   held   to   the   same   reporting   standards   as   journalist,  so  journalist  must  learn  how  to  engage  with  their  audiences  in  order  to  “control”   the   accuracy   of   their   reporting   and   stay   above   the   fray.   Social   media   is   the   key   to   this   engagement.   For   instance,   many   reporters   are   using   their   personal   Facebook   pages   to   post   updates  on  articles  they  are  writing.  This  gives  their  fans  an  opportunity  to  engage  with  the   reporter  as  they  are  writing  their  articles  and  to  perhaps  even  become  a  source.  By  doing   this   journalists   are   not   just   gathering   insights   from   others   but   they   are   able   to   fine-­‐tune   their  writing  and  involve  their  audiences.  Journalism  is  no  longer  a  voice  of  one,  but  a  voice   of  the  people.         Other  areas  of  social  media  that  are  having  impacts  on  journalism  are  social  bookmarking   websites   like   Digg.com,   users   can   vote   and   comment   on   different   news   stories,   and   the   stories  that  receive  the  most  votes  are  featured  on  the  homepage.  Digg.com  is  an  excellent   example   of   how   social   media   is   actually   helping   journalists.   A   journalist’s   popularity   can   literally   explode   overnight   if   their   article   is   ranked   on   the   homepage   as   one   of   the   audience’s   favorites.   This   website   and   other   social   bookmarking   widgets/toolbars   are   examples   of   how   a   journalist   can   expand   their   audience   through   social   media.   Increasing   the   popularity   of   a   journalist   can   be   a   double-­‐edged   sword   though.   Professional   bloggers     11  

make   a   lot   of   money   now   days.   And   we’re   seeing   an   increase   in   “moon   lighting”   journalists   who  work  by  day  as  a  reporter  but  go  home  and  make  a  living  by  blogging.  It’s  a  fairly  easy   concept.   All   someone   has   to   do   is   start   creating   content   that   people   are   interested   in,   grow   your  audience  by  networking  and  then  involve  the  audiences  by  letting  them  interact  with   the  content.  And  this  can  all  be  done  for  free  now  days  with  the  free  blogging  platforms.         Ask  a  journalist  or  media  organization  if  they  think  Twitter  is  helping  or  hurting  them  and  I   think   the   answer   would   be   a   definite   maybe.   After   reading   through   two   dozen   industry   blogs   and   news   websites   on   the   Twitter   subject,   it   seems   it   is   an   even   split   in   the   three   different  directions.  The  first  side  says  Twitter  offers  the  greatest  challenge  and  threat  that   journalism   and   the   media   has   ever   faced,   the   second   side   says   Twitter   has   drastically   helped  them  in  how  they  engage  with  their  audiences  with  fact  finding  and  story  research,   and  the  third  says  Twitter  is  a  fad  and  will  pass.  I  think  the  first  side  is  right.  Twitter  is  a   threat   if   news   organizations   don’t   take   it   seriously   and   put   real   thought   into   how   they   adapt,  and  it  is  the  greatest  challenge  because  it  has  so  much  potential  and  possibilities.  For   a  journalist,  Twitter  is  best  described  as  a  living,  breathing  tip  sheet  for  finding  story  leads,   checking   facts   and   finding   sources.   Twitter   has   proven   itself   as   a   real   news   source   with   examples   like   the   Ft.   Hood   shooting,   the   Iranian   election   protests   and   the   2008   Mumbai   terrorist  attacks.  In  all  three  cases,  people  were  tweeting  about  what  was  happening  before   the   media   could   get   the   story   on   air.   Even   though   Twitter   was   first   to   “break   the   news”   the   real   reporting   on   the   stories   didn’t   happen   until   the   large   news   organizations   got   involved.     People  were  just  tweeting  incoherent  dribble,  rumors  and  assumptions.  It  was  like  a  crowd   running  out  of  Movie  Theater  and  yelling  about  what  they  witnessed  in  the  dark.  There  was   panic  in  the  air  and  no  real  factual  news  was  being  reported,  just  speculation  fueled  by  fear   and  biased  opinions.         It   is   a   positive   for   journalist   and   the   news   media   that   people   jump   on   Twitter   and   start   running  their  mouths  before  substantiated  any  of  the  facts  about  their  subject  matter?  This   allows   true   journalist   to   step-­‐in   and   take   over   the   show   by   tweeting   about   the   real   facts   and   providing   validated   information   that   has   been   properly   researched   through   the   appropriate   channels   of   the   news   desk.   That   is   real   journalism;   see   a   story,   research   a     12  

story,  find  the  resources,  research  the  resources,  get  all  angles  and  then  verify  everything   before   publishing   the   story.   After   all,   in   the   end,   people   do   want   the   truth.   But   at   the   beginning,  they  just  want  the  headlines  of  what  is  happening  on  the  ground.  The  situation   of  widespread  tweeting  on  breaking  news  is  seen  as  an  opportunity  for  journalist  to  shine   and  show  their  Twitter  followers  how  a  real  story  should  be  constructed  and  published.  It   doesn’t  matter  the  medium  that  is  used  to  disseminate  a  news  story,  what  does  matter  are   the  timing,  accuracy  and  engagement  of  the  story  with  the  audience.    Journalist  should  not   fear   the   speed   and   expansion   of   Tweets   about   breaking   news;   instead   they   should   use   it   to   their   advantage   to   widen   the   differences   between   consumer   frenzy   and   professional   reporting.       There  are  numerous  ethical  considerations  that  have  developed  over  the  last  few  years  on   the   shift   toward   journalists’   increased   use   of   social   media.   The   most   widely   discussed   ethical  issues  are  around  a  journalist’s  personal  and  professional  usage  of  social  media  and   social   networking   sites.   Journalists   know   better   than   anyone   that   they   must   verify   comments  before  posting  them.  The  ethical  question  comes  into  play  when  you  have  to  ask   when  is  a  journalist  posting  a  comment  from  a  personal  perspective  and  when  as  a  reporter   that  represents  a  news  organization?  Many  professionals  agree  while  journalists  can  post   their   own   opinions   if   desired,   they   must   keep   their   news   organizations   in   mind,   and   the   same   values   that   apply   to   traditional   media   also   apply   to   social   media.   For   journalists,   transparency  is  one  of  the  most  important  values.  That  means  a  journalist  can’t  act  as  an   individual,   which   means   any   public   comment   can   be   turned   around   and   potentially   embarrass  the  newsroom’s  credibility.  Because  of  this  ethics  dilemma  almost  every  major   news  organization  (and  corporation)  has  developed  social  media  bylaws  and  ethic  policies   that   must   be   followed   by   all   employees.   Traditional   media   is   dying   to   harness   the   power   of   social  media  and  the  massive  networks  that  exist,  but  they  must  also  approach  this  power   with  great  respect  and  responsibility  or  else  it  will  backfire  on  them  with  a  final  blow.       Overall,   the   American   public   still   believes   watchdog   journalism   is   an   important   aspect   of   their  news  consumption,  but  ironically  many  Americans  don’t  believe  the  mainstream  news   media  because  of  the  nature  in  which  everything  is  communicated  and  re-­‐communicated.     13  

They  feel  corporate  America,  politicians  or  TV  ratings  have  overtaken  accurate  journalism,   and   in   many   instances,   especially   the   younger   population,   are   adopting   online   and   social   media,  although  not  completely  deserting  the  mainstream  news  organizations.  Social  media   networking   sites   like   Facebook,   YouTube   and   Twitter   offer   skeptical   audiences   the   opportunity   to   consume   news   straight   from   the   eyewitnesses.   Instead   of   relying   on   a   reporter   to   speak   with   someone   at   a   news-­‐breaking   event,   audiences   can   reach   out   and   speak  to  eyewitnesses  themselves  via  social  media.       Social  media  has  affected  journalism  on  a  macro  and  micro  level  in  just  the  last  three  years,   and   it   will   continue   to   affect   it   in   the   near   and   long-­‐term   future.   While   many   business,   distribution  and  operational  aspects  of  the  news  media  industry  has  changed  since  2008,   social   media   has   made   popular   three   main   topics   of   discussion   around   journalism:   will   local  news  stay  in  print  format  and  how  important  is  that  moving  forward;  the  trust  factor   with  the  large  national  media  organizations  and  the  final  and  most  difficult  is  the  manner  in   which  news  is  created  and  distributed  using  social  media.  The  smart  journalist,  no  matter  if   they   are   right   out   of   school   or   have   been   in   the   industry   30   years,   are   starting   to   use   social   media  in  new  ways  and  beginning  to  see  the  light  at  the  end  of  the  tunnel.  Social  media  can   be  a  powerful  tool  when  used  properly,  and  has  the  potential  to  really  propel  journalism  to   the  next  level,  which  is  probably  mobile  journalism.       The   major   contributor   to   the   public’s   negative   opinion   on   journalism   was   the   speed   at   which  social  media  was  launching  and  becoming  popular  overnight.  But,  social  media  has   shown   the   value   of   local   news   organizations   as   well   as   the   advantages   the   new   tools   can   bring   small   media   organizations.   Finally,   social   media   has   given   journalists   new   ways   to   report,   find   sources,   validate   information   and   most   importantly   engage   with   a   larger   audience.  This  creates  a  very  tempting  option  for  more  journalists  to  become  independent.       There  are  hundreds  of  other  questions  to  raise  about  the  future  of  journalism,  but  the  basic   premise   of   journalism   will   never   go   away:   You   witness   an   event   and   report   a   factual   representation   of   that   event.   No   matter   what   new   forms   of   distributing   that   story   might  

 

14  

develop,  the  truth  of  a  story  will  never  die.  After  all,  freedom  of  speech  is  the  most  powerful   of  all  rights  we  have.      

Marketing  Has  Changed  Forever  
  Based   on   the   history   of   mass-­‐communication,   when   a   new   technology   is   introduced   that   changes   the   entire   dynamics   of   what   influences   consumer   buying   decisions   and   how   companies  deliver  their  marketing  message,  they  simply  cannot  afford  the  revenue  to  stay   unresponsive  and  stale  in  calculating  new  strategies  to  meet  new  business  objectives.  The   fact  is  consumers  are  using  social  media  to  gather  information  from  each  other  instead  of   from   marketers.   How   can   a   company   effectively   deliver   their   marketing   message   when   their   target   audience   prefers   to   get   their   information   from   a   friend   or   peer?   Instead   of   focusing   on   the   influence   and   control   of   messages,   organizations   should   concentrate   on   interacting   and   engaging   these   influential   groups   in   order   to   earn   their   trust   and   build   value  for  their  brand.     Organizations   have   been   forced   to   follow   the   masses   into   social   networks,   blogging   communities,  forums,  user  groups,  and  video  sharing  portals.  They  do  this  for  engagement   and   hopefully   retention.   These   initiatives   can   be   challenging   across   the   board:   they   are   time  consuming,  costly,  and  could  potentially  tarnish  their  brand  image  if  they  don’t  have  a   solid   strategy   in   place   to   effectively   carry   out   the   marketing   but   not   disturb   the   consumers   at  the  same  time.       National   brands   have   realized   that   they   need   help   humanizing   their   story   and   make   it   meaningful  and  relevant  to  this  new  generation  of  consumers  that  demand  it.  In  order  to   survive,  they  must  incorporate  social  media  along  with  new  strategies,  new  philosophies,   and   hire   young   creative   minds   who   know   the   social   media   environment   inside   and   out   not   because  they  read  about  it  but  because  they  are  living  it.  Literally,  they  live  online.       Traditional  marketing  includes  a  three-­‐phase  customer  cycle  called  acquisition,  retention,   and   growth.   Web   2.0   (soon   to   be   3.0)   along   with   varying   aspects   of   social   networking,  

 

15  

social   media,   and   branding   have   created   a   new   standard   for   how   organizations   deliver   their  marketing  message  to  their  customers.  The  marketing  strategies  that  we  should  focus   on   in   today’s   dynamic   landscape   should   attract,   engage   and   extend.   To   acquire   loyal   customers,  you  need  to  attract  them  in  a  way  that  makes  them  feel  apart  of  the  process.  In   order   to   retain   customers,   you   need   to   engage   them   through   quality   content   and   other   interactive   tools   and   social   media.   Lastly,   to   grow   certain   segments   of   your   online   business   you   need   to   be   able   to   extend   your   reach   and   content   across   multiple   platforms   utilizing   social  media  tools  and  strategies.  Over  1.2  billion  people  are  now  cruising  the  internet  on  a   daily   basis   interacting   with   one   another,   sharing   ideas,   concerns,   and   utilizing   social   media   as   their   preferred   medium   in   which   to   do   so.   One   question   that   confronts   marketers   is   what   happens   when   a   customer   or   prospective   customer   leaves   their   website?   Will   they   come  back  and  visit  later  on  that  day?  How  about  next  month?  Will  they  tell  their  friends  or   family  about  their  website?  Is  there  a  way  that  company  can  have  more  control  over  these   outcomes?   The   answer   is   yes   and   no.   Companies   can   control   things,   but   control   goes   against  the  very  nature  of  social  media  in  general.       The   truth   about   social   media   is   that   it   can   deeply   affect   a   company’s   brand   and   reputation.   Brands   that   choose   to   use   social   media   as   another   channel   through   which   to   force   advertising  messages  through  will  undoubtedly  miss  the  mark  with  social  media.  In  order   to   truly   benefit   from   social   media,   organizations   cannot   just   be   spectators.   The   only   option   is  to  become  a  participant  and  participate.  Advertisers  want  to  be  in  front  of  large  crowds,   even  if  the  crowds  seem  unruly.       With   the   huge   explosion   of   social   media,   a   new   discipline   has   been   created   called   social   influence  marketing.  Social  Influence  Marketing  (SIM)  is  the  art  of  integrating  social  media   throughout   the   entire   lifecycle   of   a   marketing   campaign.   SIM   is   associated   more   closely   with  consumer  behavior  than  it  is  with  social  media.  Some  speculate  that  SIM  may  have  a   stronger   impact   on   purchasing   behavior   than   brand   and   direct   response   marketing.   The   following  statistic  makes  a  pretty  strong  statement  in  regards  to  social  influence  marketing   and  where  it  is  headed.  A  recent  Jupiter  Research  report  showed  that  half  of  all  advertisers  

 

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allocated   less   than   15%   of   their   online   budget   on   social   marketing.   In   contrast,   the   same   marketers  plan  to  increase  their  marketing  budgets  by  25%  over  the  next  year.     SIM  is  very  broad  in  definition  but  embodies  many  social  tactics  such  as  integrating  a  rating   system   for   products/services,   brand   monitoring   initiatives,   ensuring   that   all   of   your   digital   content   is   portable   and   conducting   research   to   understand   how   peer   influence   lives   and   develops  along  every  stage  of  the  marketing  funnel.     It   is   apparent   that   the   future   of   online   marketing   is   conversation.   Microsoft’s   CEO   Steve   Ballmer  summed  it  up  best  when  he  said,       “It’s  going  to  be  harder  and  harder  to  tease  apart  what’s  communications  and  what’s  media   because   if   I   say   I’m   watching   a   golf   match   and   at   the   same   time   I   see   Tiger   Woods’   golf   ball,   I   take  my  clicker,  it  points  at  it,  it  figures  out  that  it  is  a  Nike  Elite,  it  says  ‘Do  you  want  to  order   a   dozen   of   these   balls   for   you   and   your   friends?’   Advertising,   commerce,   community   and   content  all  kind  of  blend.”  It’s  going  to  be  extremely  important  for  organizations  to  have  the   technology   to   effectively   reach   and   engage   their   target   audience   through   social   media.   It   will   be  even  more  important  for  organizations  that  do  have  a  social  media  marketing  strategy  to   drive  results  and  test  which  solutions  work  best.  Social  media  is  still  evolving;  it  stands  to  be   the   cornerstone   for   how   organizations   and   consumers   interact   with   each   other   moving   forward.  In  the  near  future,  the  new  slogan  may  well  be,  “As  social  media  goes,  so  goes  

your  business.”  
 

Conclusion    
Social  media  has  changed  the  very  fabric  of  our  lives.  It  has  become  interwoven  in  society   to   the   point   that   it   is   difficult   to   even   notice   it   anymore.   Marketers   and   journalists   alike   have   done   a   better   job   in   2010   of   adopting   the   “art”   of   social   media,   but   they   still   have   trouble   applying   it   and   navigating   through   a   real   strategy.   At   first   everyone   was   just   trying   to   jump   into   social   media   because   of   pressure,   but   now   that   things   are   becoming   normalized  it  seems  everyone  is  starting  to  put  their  pants  on  one  leg  at  a  time.       17  

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