I remember as a kid watching the news with my parents everyday. It was our connection to the world, keeping us up to date on everything that the network found ‘newsworthy.’ We learned about local and national events, current sports statistics, and most importantly… the weather. It was the norm in American culture to tune in to the weather forecast each day to prepare for what was to come.
In the past decade, this norm has changed as the power of social media has grown. We no longer need to tune in to broadcast news to find out what is happening in the world around us or to discover the upcoming weather. Social media has replaced this form of communication in a very powerful way.
Over the past weekend, Oregon was hit with a powerful snowstorm. This storm basically shut down parts of the state for 3 days. During this storm, Facebook served as quite the weather alert system. I didn’t even have to Google conditions; it was all there in status updates. I knew where it was snowing and where it was not. How many inches of snow people had with pictures for evidence. I knew what schools were closed and what roads were closed and open. I knew what people were doing with their snow day and what they were wearing to brave the weather conditions. And people were offering free advice about what they thought others should do because of the weather. Social Media provided this vast amount of information in a way that a traditional news segment never would be able to and that is just one example of the power of connected communication through social media channels.
“News” today hits social media sites before typical news channels are able to report on the occurring event. Social Media also usually contains more details than a news highlight would be able to feature. This is because social media allows people to engage in the conversation, adding their perspectives and insights. The more people that engage in the topic, the more the topic spreads.
This change in the way we consume, view, and engage with information has truly changed American culture and the need for broadcast news. Social Media is now the first place I turn when I want insight into what is happening in the world. Information, in real time, from real people. This is extremely powerful and will continue to grow in its strength. However, with all ‘news’ that is shared, one must still decide what is true and what is altered and changed as the message spreads. There is no telling the true power of this new web of interactive communication. However, I do know that traditional ‘news’ will never be our only source of information for the future because we now require instant information, when we want it. Only social media give us this ability and power.
What are your thoughts on the impact social media is having on how ‘news’ is shared? Share your thoughts in the comments below.