The rise of social media has drastically changed the way we receive and respond to the news. Like many, the first thing I do in the morning is turn to my phone and scroll through my twitter feed, looking for key current events. I like reading about newsworthy events in less than 140 characters to get the general idea of the article and then I have the option to read further. 20% of adults currently turn to social networks for the news and the number is continuously increasing. Social media platforms also encourage individuals to include their personal attitudes towards the stories. It allows people to take advantage of the First Amendment, Freedom of Speech. By voicing opinions, it raises conversation and new ideas. Think back on the following key events of 2012 that were greatly influenced by social media:
1. Whitney Houston’s Death- I know exactly where I was when I found out that Whitney Houston died on February 11. I was with two friends in Santa Monica shopping at Bloomingdales when we overheard a sales associate discussing Houston’s death. Without a thought, I turned to my phone and opened twitter to see if the rumor was true. It turns out, Twitter broke the news of Houston’s death 27 minutes before the press. 2.5 million tweets and retweets occurred in the first hour after the first tweet about her death went out. Of the world’s top 10 trending topics on Twitter that day, 9 of them were about Houston.
2. Aurora Shooting- In this tragic shooting on July 20, victims used social media to post updates on their
situation form inside the theatre. People from all over were posting on Facebook and Twitter about the shooting. Some were posting angry posts about the suspect, while others were posting remorseful prayers for the victims. The names of the victims who were killed were trending on Twitter. Using the hashtag #BaleOutAurora, people on Twitter asked for the “Dark Knight Rises” star Christian Bale to visit the injured kids in the hospital in Aurora. His appearance at the hospital was all thanks to the viral campaign.
3. 2012 Summer Olympics- Known as the “World’s first social Games,” it’s no surprise that this year’s Olympic Games made the list. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt had the most mentions on Twitter coming in at 960,000. Michael Phelps was the next most mentioned athlete with 830,000 mentions during the games. All of the athletes were active on their social media platforms, adding a personal flare to the games.
4. Gangnam Style- This viral sensation by PSY is now the most liked song on YouTube in history, with more than 500 million views and 4 million likes. This music video exploded through social media sharing on Facebook and Twitter. In the blink of an eye, the South Korean rap singer became a super star in the United States.
5. Election 2012- The 2012 presidential race is the first time both candidates have used social media to promote their platforms. Twitter has become the single best real-time engagement tool for campaigning. It allows the candidates to talk to their voters and get their messages out clearly and concisely. The second presidential debate generated 12.24 million comments on Twitter and Facebook. It was the top political event of all time in social media history.
These newsworthy moments all blew up thanks to the power of social media. They generated conversation online about the events while raising awareness. The ability for information to be sent out instantaneously is one of the many benefits of social media. We can rely on these sites to provide us with newsworthy content in real-time. Say goodbye to the days of publishing and hello to the instantaneous. News on social media is our future.
What are your thoughts? Do you think social media has a big impact on newsworthy events? Do you think it’s a reliable source?