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My Take On The Future Of Social Media In Journalism

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Published: September 14, 2010

Social Media is a constantly evolving tool that anyone from professional journalists to corporate Bloggers can use to get their voice out. The future is bright and ever changing.

Vadim Lavrusik of Mashable wrote a great post on the future of Social Media in journalism. A lot of the points he touched on are current trends that are evolving in Social Media.

New And Old Media

Many of Social Media’s biggest proponents are Old Media’s largest detractors. While Old Media has slowly embraced the social outlets that we’ve been using for ages, I believe the two will coexist in some way; neither will totally cannibalize the other but rather work hand in hand. The ultimate goal for the news is to deliver timely content in an orderly fashion. Whether a news outlet such as CNN or Twitter uses traditional media to deliver a breaking story, old and new media need to be considered as two very viable platforms with two different approaches. CNN has taken some great steps in complimenting its old school reporting with real time feedback. A story could develop through an Old Media outlet and be expanded upon using real time reporting via Twitter and Facebook.

Accountability In Journalism

One of the best and worst things Social Media has done is amplify the Streisand effect and keep people in check through increasing transparency. Sites such as Wikileaks (which leaks documents through anonymous sources otherwise unavailable) and Facebook (which aims to put your entire life within millions of eye balls – for better or worse) will be a few of the vital tools journalists and readers will use to keep each other in check. With Social Media I have access to so many outlets for any one individual and vice versa, sites like Twitter almost become an automatic peer review machine.

We’ve seen time and time again factual errors being disputed, executive’s bad habits come to light and even empower an entire presidential campaign. I think this trend will continue as fact and integrity checking become even more widespread as the tools we use to do so become not only easier, but reacher greater audiences.

Company Interaction

Before the advent of Social Media, companies didn’t have channels to directly reach consumers. Often times it was the other way around as consumers had to go through an ardous process to connect to a company or brand on some level. Today, brands and companies are competing to connect to you. I’m not talking about ads or marketing (that might be an in/direct result of social media) but rather a brand connecting to you through a social channel like Facebook. This creates a more intimate relation between consumers, journalists and brands. It almost removes the smoke and mirrors of a corporate machine and puts a face to brands, or rather a Facebook profile picture.

This will definitely continue, companies and brand see Social Media as the next big thing and whether they want to market something to you or connect on some scale, they will compete harder and harder to do so.

The Move To Mobile

Mobile Devices have evolved at such a dramatic pace in the past four years. Smartphones were often cumbersome and target the business professional who wanted to take his work home with him. Today, we have great platforms like Android and iOS which have jumpstarted smartphones and have killed the preconceived notion that a device with push email would only be useful for a man in a suit. The side effect of this fast paced development is continued integration with Social Media.

Location aware mobile devices spew information about our surroundings and constant connections to the cloud allows us to keep in sync with our personal lives. I think we’ll see an explosion of Socially connected devices that will allow journalists and writer to do live reporting without the need to lug around tons of equipment, receive updates on stories and revise at anywhere, anytime and of course discover new, excited and localized content.

The future for Social Media is bright and we’ll see its continual use by writers, journalists and Bloggers evolve. I think in the coming years we’ll see new tools to better discover content generated by users and that fact/integrity checking will only become more streamlined.

Via: Mashable