How the news views online social networks is intriguing. These networks are sources of information, inspiration and even competition. Online social networks are a source of news, but more direct than the local news channel. In the past, the news portrayed the events of the day, giving facts. With social networking comes the need for not only facts but also opinions. In many ways, the news must compete with, yet work with, locations like MySpace and Facebook to grab the attention of the individual.
As social networks become more popular, you can count on more interaction between the news and these websites.
People Love the Dish
Social networks connect people and in doing so, they allow people to talk about anything. Voicing your opinion is an important part of designing your MySpace page, for example. News groups know this and they regularly use these social networking websites as a way to find out what people are saying.
You may even see this on your daily news program. Some programs regularly use YouTube videos as a form of news reporting. They use MySpace pages to give the dish on celebrities who are doing something interesting. They reference stories about people doing outrageous things on their Facebook accounts. The news views social networking as an opportunity to grab information and stories to report to the public through their local programming.
How the News Views Online Social Networks as Competition
In some ways, social networks are a form of news coverage themselves. People share not only their day's activities here, but also the videos they obtain from news they catch throughout their lives. The news sees this as a bit of competition; everyday, amateur people are grabbing the attention of a captive audience, an audience that the news companies want.
Social networking is not direct competition as most people are still likely to turn to the local news programs or news websites for fact-based information. Visiting MySpace is an opportunity to interact and talk to others, whereas currently most feel the news media is where you go to get the important information.
How the News Uses Social Networking Websites
How does the news use social networking websites? This depends on what's happening virally. Here are some ways these sites are useful to the news.
- Gather opinions: To find out what people think of the latest political candidate scandal or the new trends, news companies can learn from networking websites simply by visiting them.
- Gather stories: News companies can easily gain news stories by visiting a website and reporting about the topic or information available there. Examples of this could be any entertainment piece where references are made to the celebrity's MySpace page.
- Using it as a springboard: A unique way that some news channels are using MySpace and Facebook in particular is to use them as a springboard, forum or poll mechanism to ask questions and get results. For example, some special report broadcasts will create their own social networking site and invite viewers to the television program to voice their opinions after the program.
- Gauging interest: Sometimes it's important for a news program to feel out the audience prior to broadcasting on a topic or piece. By scanning the pages of MySpace, they can find out if people care about the latest trouble in Iraq or if they are more interested in the housing market by looking for conversations people are having.
- As reports themselves: Nearly all news programs at one time or another have talked about what MySpace is or how Facebook is changing the way people communicate. In this way, news programs are further using social networking sites.
The Future of News and Social Networking
With the popularity of online social networking, there's no doubt they are here to stay. In terms of how the news views online social networks, they will need to embrace it as a powerful tool. The news is now in the hands of the public, giving them power to voice opinions and to give ideas.
Throughout the web, you'll find news companies with opinions on social networking. Some particularly interesting pieces you may find informative are: