Table of Contents
News Sources 2
Conventional Media 3
Modern Conventional Media 3
Social Media 3
Impact of News on Social Media 5
Effects of Social Media 6
Positive and Negative Effects of Social Media vis -a- vis Conventional Media 8
Impact of Social Media 9
The Role of Computers in the Society and the Human-Computer Interaction 11
Future of Technological Development and its intended effects on News 11
The traditional alias conventional news media has been challenged by the social media. The effect of social media has been felt less on the modern media as compared to the effect felt by the traditional print media. The circulation of the newspapers has come down while the online versions are gaining more popularity with the increasing number of visitors. Internet will not completely replace the conventional media but its reach increasing daily. This report discusses the impact of social media news on the society.
The sources where people get their news from is known as news media. They can be verbal such as news reports on TV or Radios, print such as magazines or newspapers or even be word of mouth from people who have witnessed it such as grapevine or they can get it over social and networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Figure 1: Sources from where people get their news
The term conventional media refers to the traditional means of mass communication that have been in existence since a very long time. These methods of news broadcasting are some the most steadfast and more common ways that masses have accessed news. It begins with the ancient folk lore system and come down till the various daily, weekly, monthly or annual publications by news houses in the form of newspapers or magazines. The term even includes the street announcements by kings done in the olden days as well as street plays. The term is inclusive of news media like newspapers and magazines. These may be a part of the government initiatives and be under the guidelines laid down by the government or they might be independent. Even for the independent publications there are some rules and regulations to be followed as laid down by the governing council for such media. (Christian, 2014)
Modern Conventional Media
While the tradiotional methods of news broadcasting are effective they are soon being less preferred. With the advent of the internet and its popularity some of the conventional news media have started to update their publications on the internet. This form of media is also known as online media (the conventional media in a newer form). Even if the media is new that is the presentation is in a new form the content is still monitored by the deciding authority. The number of people who opt for the electronic modes for news acquirement is increasing with time. (Aikat, 2004)
Social Media is a term used to address an assortment of internet based or web-based sites or social platforms. These application or platforms make it convenient for people to be in touch with each other socially and informally. These platforms are also used for sharing important personal events and real time news. The most popular forms include Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube etc. It involves an activity i.e. a post or a blog posted by a journalist or user; using an application on an online platform like Facebook.
Types of User-Generated Content & Social Media Initiatives
Message Boards Self Standing Message Boards with or without threads
Comments on Stories Publication of Comments at the Bottom of Specific Stories.
User Generated Content News Direct Request for and Publication of Pictures, videos and text eye witnesses on major news stories.
Non-News User Generated Content News Direct Request for and Publication of Pictures, videos and text/reviews for general issues.
Blogs Publishing or commissioning "professional "authored blogs + commenting
Reader Blogs Allowing readers to publish blogs have visible spaces with comments
User Generated data Participation with low barrier to entry
User Questions Crowd Sourced questions initiated by news organization for public figure online via broadcast/webcast
Social Network Functionality On-site social network elects like friend recommendations or member spaces
Off Site Engagement Intervening and engaging in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
Social Media has rapidly become a platform for the "breaking news " and is also responsible for directing people to the more traditional news sites for detailed news stories and articles. This is possible because it has become very easy for anybody to post the so called breaking news. e.g. people who were checking in or were waiting for their flights from Brussels were the first ones to report online about the blasts in the Brussels airport while also reassuring their loved ones, friends and families about their safety.
Impact of news on social media
When we discuss about social media and about those people who use social media as their news source; the most frequently referred source is Facebook which is closely followed by YouTube(Caumont, 2014). While these sites do not publish news, it is shared by the users in the form of news flashes/stories, videos, images, discussions or chats. There are status updates on Facebook and WhatsApp after any event for e.g. a natural disaster like an earthquake or a bridge collapse; which claims the poster to be safe and informs about what the whole experience was like. Thus many of the news stories are self-witnessed and recorded by the users themselves after which it is posted. When people refer to news on social websites they are able to pursue any news event in detail if it fancies them on other sites. The news flash on a social media site has already prepared them for a base information and they can just scan through the main article.(Caumont, 2014)
Social Media is continuously evolving and upgrading. Social Media News is freely available over the Internet while Print Media has to be subscribed or purchased. The competition from the free sources leads newspapers and news channels to come up with new methods of attracting users which include freebies; coupons; competitions; surveys; opinion polls with gifts for participants, cost reductions etc. To cover up for these increased marketing expenses sponsors and advertisers are poached upon.
Figure 2: Social Media Pathway to News
Effects of Social Media
Social Media affects all the gamut of the society in different ways which are both beneficial as well as detrimental. Here we discuss the effect of Social Media on:
• Society & Culture
Social Media provides the common people a platform for connecting with other people with whom there would have been very little contact whatsoever otherwise. Also people with common interests but a huge geographical distance amongst themselves can come closer. The culture and traditional values of various communities and countries which were just a story to some are now becoming more conceptually clearer. Art in all possible forms across the world can be appreciated.
• Technological Issues
Social Media solely relies on technology for its survival. The failure of technology leads to the collapse of the entire social media network. There is always the sword of hackers which is dangling over any social media user. There is also the increasing threat of virus attacks and the breaking or by-passing of firewalls. These technological failures lead to loss or theft of important data including personal and financial data.
• Economic Issues
Effect of Social Media on Businesses and the daily lifestyle of people cannot be more evident than that in advertising and e-commerce. Most people will prefer to buy things online rather go all the way to the market/mall and spend time travelling or in traffic and endure long check-out queues. As a result of this the advertising expenditure of most brands has shifted from the conventional or traditional methods of advertising to the online or modern methods of advertising. The customer is also becoming more informed thanks to being able to read the reviews and opinions of people who have used the products rather than relying on the shopkeeper's perspective of the product. The number of e-commerce business that has come is phenomenal in the recent years. (Thomas, 2014)
• Ethical Issues
Whatever is discussed on social media can be easily divided into two categories: one that is actual and one that is perceived. While some news events are witnessed live e.g. being on the spot near where an accident has happened or being the witness to a monumental sports event has the element of truth in it but still it is biased to some extent because the person posting it will give more emphasis to his point of view than the general one. So for those who rely solely on social media for news the picture is somewhat manipulated. The possibility of grapevine news also cannot be ignored.
• Environmental Issues
Social Media is an online source which does not require printing and hence the paper consumption is less. Less usage of paper means less felling of trees; but in today's world most newspapers and magazine publishers have started recycling of paper which is becoming more environmentally safe. While social media is available online; the methods of accessing it are mainly smart phones which are not so environmental friendly. The batteries of such phones consume lots of electricity which could have been used elsewhere. This is of utmost importance in developing nations who witness frequent power cuts and cannot produce electricity as much as is required.
Positive and Negative Effects of Social Media vis -a- vis Conventional Media
• News Update is real time and faster on Social Media as compared to the Traditional Media.
• Social Media can enable a two-way communication via online queries and live chats while the conventional methods are just a one-way communication where-in the news paper prints the news and people just accept it and there is no form of questioning it or getting it clarified.
• The lack of communication flow between the end users and the news casters make the traditional methods a close ended system as compared to the social methods.
• Raising questions on the views published in blogs or websites or on any other social media can create a feeling of transparency between all the concerned parties which is not possible on the conventional methods.
• The one-to-one replies on social media creates a feeling of personalization as compared to the mass effect or the generalization feeling of the traditional methods.
• The traditional media is an employment oriented method which provides job opportunities to writers, news casters, editors, printers, and many others involved in it at various levels while the social media can be handled single handedly too. It may be free for posting views and may or may not provide a fixed source of employment.
• The news on the conventional media is made of polished and professional content while the news on social media may be not be so professional or polished but may be user based and personal. The language and content in social media is more informal as compared to the formal language in print media.
• The bottom line for social media is publishing of personal interpretations and views while the bottom line of the rational methods is the reach or the maximum number of end users.
• The decision making in conventional media is mainly based on economic viability which is not the case for social media.
• Social Media is generally on real time news but with chat groups like WhatsApp some old news are re-circulated while the print media does not do old news unless there is something more that has turned up regarding the same(Hausman, 2012).
Impact of Social Media
The impact of social media can be multi-dimensional in terms of:
Social Media solely relies on information technology for its survival. The need for security is always present to protect the users from the hackers. While buying things online one has to give credit card information which is a financial security risk. While booking international tickets one has to give passport information which is an identity risk. While paying taxes online we need to share our social security number which is an identity cum financial risk. These lead to loss or theft of important data including personal and financial data or may lead to increase in cyber crimes.
Many users are apprehensive about discussing anything and everything in detail over social media because of the lack of privacy as well the monitoring of the cyber cell over social media discussions. People are more will to discuss certain political or sensitive topics in person with their acquaintances as there is little scope for government monitoring and also lesser chance of offending other general people. The sort of people who just want to ruin others by creating mountains out of molehills on the social media is to be taken seriously as they influence the other person to such an extent that the person under public scrutiny avoids being affiliated to the social sites for ever.
Figure 4: Project Survey Result on Willingness of people to join in conversation
Source: (Caumont, 2014)
Social Media news cannot be relied upon as it becomes difficult to verify them in certain situations. For e.g. in the Arabic Nations the so called freedom fighters can take hold of the social media and propagate only that news which are useful for them or which portrays them and their philosophies in a good way. Also let us presume that during the second world war if Hitler had the social media at his disposal; then the perception of the Holocaust for those sitting far away in America or Asia would have been totally skewed because only those things could be posted which he believed in. Hence it is very easy to abuse the social media news if it is not cross-checked by the users for authenticity.
In the normal case it is generally observed that the ruling party has a major hand in the news as reported by the conventional media in the form of printed news and the news broadcasted. Thus the opposition tries to gain control of the social media where it can freely post its views and reach out to its supporters. This was very apparent in Malaysia after the 2008 General Elections.(Ali Salman, 2011)
The Role of Computers in the Society and the Human-Computer Interaction
The World is a huge place but the World Wide Web (Internet)has made it come closer. Today majority of the individuals have some amount of their work which is possible only due to the computer alias internet; be it conducting an international business and collaborating with foreign clients via emails and webinars or for teaching children at home and preparing models.
Future of Technological Development and its intended effects on News
There is a lot of talk about social media being mainly related to entertainment and not real hard core news. But the fact that entertainment is more popular since time in memorial cannot be ignored. as they say People has always been selling more copies than Time.(Thompson, 2014). The stories on social media specially Facebook, WhatsApp & Twitter may or may not be the latest but rather are the most popular ones which end up extracting high emotional reactions (either positive or negative) from the readers.
The new media i.e. the social media has gained increasing credibility over the years and is expected to do so over the future. However, some efforts are required from the conventional media to keep up with the changing times.
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