News goes Social

“Retweets are not endorsements, they are the news.” – Sirwebs

@Jesseoguns proudly announced on Twitter that he had bought a newspaper this November for the first time in two years. Honestly, he is not in the minority anymore as more and more people access their news from the internet through websites, RSS feeds, news aggregators (read Google) and Social Media sites (Twitter, Facebook, BBM, etc). Newspapers are not the only traditional news outlets affected by the online evolution; for me the television is no more a primary source too as video feeds are all over the internet and one can, for example, catch Ibrahimovic’s wonder goal or the funeral of the slain Hamas leader at their convenience via YouTube or Yahoo to name the leading destinations.

This is old news though, what is new about news is the influence of social networking on the content an individual receives. In the old days nearly everybody received the information editors and producers published or put in the newscast, today we see or read what our friends and the friends of our friends ‘recommend.’ Newsfeeds on Facebook, Twitter and the BBM network are what the average connected person is heavily exposed to. Also most news websites from Yahoo to the New York Times have ‘social’ integration that ‘broadcast’ information we have seen to our friends. Thus the old adage, “tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are,” is still evergreen and has become relevant in a post-modern world where who you follow literally determines the news you get.

The distinctiveness of news becoming social is that one can get restricted content if a person’s network is made up of like-minded people with niche interests. So once again, @jesseoguns can access the latest goings on in programming language, API’s, mobile apps etc and miss the death of say, an Olusola Saraki. Inaccuracy and misinformation is unfortunately a bane of news carried in the virtual social sphere. The BBM is notorious for spreading wrong information and sometimes falsehoods and the recent misreport of the death of Governor Suntai, in the immediate aftermath of his plane crash, was heavily influenced by Twitter and social messaging portals.  

News will increasingly become social and the concept of the ‘gatekeeper’ continually redefined. Apps like Flipboard that aggregate news from various social networks are the future. A future ‘tweeps’ like @jesseoguns can influence what is news.




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