With global smartphone penetration at an all-time high, social media continues to shift the ways in which users are consuming and sharing the happenings of the world around them. Whether it’s catching up on Facebook on the way to work or sharing pictures of major events on Twitter, this increased mobility has continued to create an environment in which “news” is no longer limited to a daily newspaper. Rather, the stories a user sees are specifically curated based on the brands, individuals and news outlets they choose to engage with digitally.
As an increasingly tech-savvy population, breaking news has users turning to social media more than the traditional front page. In fact, a recent Pew Research Center study claims 68% of smartphone owners use their phone to follow along with breaking news. The ever-evolving nature of social media has built a truly dynamic modern media landscape in which news stories can begin anywhere within the media cloverleaf and transcend traditional, hybrid, social and owned media. News agencies have been tweaking their content strategy to reflect this, creating bite-sized content for easy consumption on smaller screens.
Here are five ways social connectivity continues to change the way we consume news:
1. News Content within Facebook
In an effort to improve experience for its over 1.4 billion users, Facebook may begin hosting content natively from major news publishers such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed and National Geographic. While this may ultimately take away site traffic and advertising power from those media outlets, Facebook’s power over the types of media presented to users via algorithm would make outlets eager to participate keep users’ eyes on their content.
2. Real-Time Video Updates
The rising popularity of live-streaming apps such as Meerkat and Periscope will pave the way for a more nimble media cycle in which users will have the power to watch breaking news as it happens, rather than waiting for these reports to be released on news channels. With functionality allowing users to tune into streams through browsers, engagement with this type of content is not limited to smartphones, making this type of news accessible to most with Internet access.
3. Media Brands on Snapchat
The start of 2015 brought a new Snapchat functionality allowing for daily updates from media outlets such as CNN, ESPN, National Geographic and Yahoo News in the app’s “Discover” section. Viewable for 24 hours, each publisher is able to provide Snapchat’s over 100 million monthly users with short, visually-rich content snippets.
4. Breaking News on Twitter and Facebook
Twitter’s trending topics have always been representative of breaking news and popular conversation topics across the country and around the world, however, this week’s update to eliminate the platform’s “Discover” timeline and move trending topics into the search page now includes descriptions of trending topics in an effort to be more informative. Facebook has thrown their hat in the trending topics ring as well, launching the functionality on its desktop site early last year and launching mobile trending functionality in December. Additionally, Facebook’s prioritization of video content has cemented its role as a source for breaking news updates via video.
5. Social Becoming the News
Social media has brought the social activity of public figures front and center, with this activity sparking more news stories shared in traditional media. Social has armed these public figures with the ability to communicate directly with their fan bases and has increasingly evolved into the preferred medium for making announcements which then trickle into traditional reporting. The increasing popularity of these news stories sparked by social activity brings users to their social newsfeed rather than a traditional front page to get a more holistic, quick snapshot of their world.
Image credit: Jon S