The Connection between Current News and Social Media Engagement

For that reason, journalists have developed ways to attain information and report the information. Social media has been the impelling cause of newspaper and other news outlets. Sixty-eight percent of American adults get their information through social media, with Facebook being the common website used for news. (Matsa & Elisa Shearer, 2018). This shouldn’t be a shock, because according to statista.com, just in the third quarter, Facebook had 2.27 billion monthly active users. Just note that the material on the website statista.com provides is active users that have logged onto Facebook within the last 30 days. In 2017, Facebook had reached 1 billion, which means within a year difference that number increased. From that fact, it is conclusive that the news being shared by the network sites are being commented, shared, reposted, and liked by millions of users within minutes of the news being released. The media’s tactic in distributing information to the consumer changes the way people interpret breaking news. Also, if a mistake is done through information shared on social networking sites it is easier to go back and edit the mistake as opposed to print someone can’t just go back and fix a mistake. The conduction of this qualitative research will focus on the effects social media has created on the consumer in regards to breaking news consumption.

Literature Review

With Facebook being the number one news outlet, Twitter is the second social networking site with a high consumer percentage for newsworthy content. According to the Pew Research Center on journalism.org, in 2015, Twitter had sixty-three percent of U.S. adults using the site to grasp news. In 2018, the monthly active users around the world for Twitter in the third quarter averaged at 326 billion monthly active users, according to statista.com. Twitter is a 280-word count text that allows you to write a quick and easy message to get out to the readers. By simply pressing the retweet button she or he is automatically sharing information on their profile that allows one’s followers to now see what they have shared. Also, clicking and creating hashtags, which is the number symbol followed by a quick word or two, can lead one’s post or stories about specific event topics and current happenings. In addition, on the top of the app page when you go on the search engine on Twitter there will be a box that contains the top news or the trending topic of the day. That part of the box is constantly being updated with news information, which makes the consumer view and share the information amongst others. Twitter enhances an opportunity to classify the breaking and sharing of new information. Information can present how quickly news gets shared and how rapidly the subject shows related tweets (Williams & Reade, 2016). Using Twitter or other social media platforms as a medium for distributing breaking-news stories has shown to be effective. For example, President Donald Trump uses Twitter as his main platform to express his opinions on certain situations regarding news about the world. Whether it is political or not, he uses twitter instead of news media to communicate with society and the world. With many news consumers searching for instant gratification, social media has made it easier for consumers to access breaking news and have the accessibility to share those stories to masses.

Amy Reynolds and Brook Barnett conducted a study on the live coverage of September 11 and how national TV went about it. According to Reynolds and Barnett, journalists don’t have time to verify information when it comes to breaking news as opposed to traditional reporting does (Reynolds & Barnett, 2003). When it comes to traditional reporting he or she has to set up interviews, do some research on the information needed, then report what he or she has written which, needs to get edited and confirmed for publication. For this reason, when sharing news through social media outlets, the information is posted and received much more quickly by the masses. For instance, Facebook has live streaming which makes it a greater networking site for sharing news a lot quicker. Also, live streaming has the ability to share what is happening at the given moment and time. Streaming is beneficial in the sense that you don’t need to wait for a file to be downloaded then view it. Since people watch news through media sources, by the time news reaches the newspaper it already becomes a day old and people will ignore it.

According to Ben S. Wasike, amongst 200 to over 500 million active users, Twitter has become one of the most popular networking sites for quick and short posts (Wasike, 2013). Because reporters often need to distribute breaking news in an instant, Twitter is useful for sharing information rapidly. For instance, in downtown Bozeman, there was an explosion that occurred on March 5, 2009. Since reporters weren’t around during the incident, people were recording and photographing the incident and posting it on Twitter. The news broke out before it was even brought to print or media broadcastings on TV (Wasike, 2013). This comes to show how much news on social media is very much existent and influential to consumers.

In a study conducted by Katherine Haenschen, the Internet plays a big role in engaging the consumers to participate in political voting (Haenschen, 2016). By doing so neither the democrat or republican party are having the consumers engage, learn, and self-inform for the voting. Furthermore, by having connections in the media social network organizations and political campaigns are able to rally voters. Many other social media platforms like YouTube use their video stream to campaign and promote in the ads so viewers can get a glimpse of who is campaigning for that term. Ads have become as of great use for promoting as well as to get the consumer to click on the ad for more information that is given. Another thing about ads people are forced to watch most of the time at least 5-20 seconds of it before you can skip the ad. When presidential elections are occurring, social media is constantly updating the social networks of the candidates running for elections. Prior to that, the consumers are receiving and sharing content amongst others. A common thing found in social media networks is polls. A poll in social media content allows the person to see the status of ones voting and is commonly used for politics in election campaigns for candidates. According to Haenschen, the using of Internet in American adults in 1983 was 1.4 percent, whereas in 2013 it rose up to 87 percent (Haenschen, 2016). Nowadays, the Internet is your television, your news, your telephone and so much more, which is history in the making.

According to Spencer T. Johnson and Ann Dutton Ewbank, when looking over news content, students should be able to analyze and understand what they are reading whether it be breaking news or current events (Johnson & Ewbank, 2018). One of the examples that was given in the study was how students should be careful when it comes to political voting because students are younger, they may just vote for the candidate that is most known of, but should also understand the good or bad impact the candidate will be. Therefore, breaking or real news in social media is helpful information to the youth and adults.

Edson Tandoc and Erika Johnson conducted research where they proposed that Twitter is the social media outlet that college students most used. Tandoc and Johnson’s study examines how college students receive their breaking news. The participant was asked to choose one media outlet, from a pool of digital, multimedia, and written news sources (Tandoc & Johnson, 2016). Tandoc and Johnson advise that because social media plays a big part in the distribution of breaking news, there is a higher chance that sharing news would rise up during a bad time. For instance, when an incident happens it is usually shared on social media and the consumers use that outlet to get more information on the incident. How do breaking news media outlets make it to the masses? According to Janani Kalyanam, Mauricio Quezada, Barbara Poblete, and Gert Lanckriet, online social network reports information or news rapidly making it the main source for breaking news (Kalyanam, Quezeda, Poblete, & Lanckriet, 2016). Depending on the information given online, if a lot of people share and view the news, then the social media networks get more attention. By giving content likes, shares, and comments, the news becomes popular and is seen amongst many people (Kalyanam, Quezeda, Poblete, & Lanckriet, 2016). On an occasion, someone on social media had shared a photograph of a dress that went viral back in 2015. The photograph went viral because people were debating whether the dress on the picture was black and blue or gold and white. That goes to show how a small thing that doesn’t have meaning can end up being the trend for not just days but weeks, which also explains how much social networking has up risen and has viewers updated with trending topics. But the question is why would people distribute information through social media instead of in a face-to-face situation.

According to Jayson L. Dibble and Timothy R. Levine, people are reluctant to share bad news. Reasons include self-presentation and sensitivity to receiver emotionality (Dibble & Levine, 2013). Through their research, it is expressed that the closer you are to someone, the harder it becomes to share bad news to them. It is very common that not all, but some people have difficult time with expressing themselves and what is on one’s mind and becomes much easier to just express one’s feelings on social media. This can be a factor as to why people choose to inform bad news through an online social media platform, rather than in person. For example, in today’s society, everyone relies on their electronics, specifically their phone. It gives them so much more freedom on deciding what they want to do. It also makes it easier to just call or text someone than to make sure the person is home, get in their car and drive to the person you would like to share some news or important information. Those extra efforts are unnecessary now and prefer the easier route to take and just do a simple phone call.

The next question is, how news outlets classify what is newsworthy? Does it have sufficient information to be shared on social media? According to Monika Bednarek, journalists use a setoff news value, such as negativity, to measure and judge events newsworthiness. (Bednarek, 2016). According to Bednarek, a lot of news industries are accommodated to help journalists share and publicize stories to have the consumer become more interested in what they are reading. Bednarek implies that the right tools and support of data scientists is to look over information about a story, which helps a journalist with writing skills, photographs, and written stories will be ‘liked’ and shared’ some more than others. (Badnarek, 2016). Having these assets in a newsroom makes a journalist’s work newsworthy, but reading and obtaining stories is a choice made by the consumer and how they want to distribute important information. According to the book, A First Look at Communication Theory written by Em Griffin, Andrew Ledbetter, and Glenn Sparks, selective exposure is the tendency people have to avoid information that would create cognitive dissonance because it’s incompatible with their current beliefs, (Griffin, Ledbetter, & Sparks.) People choose to see and hear what they want and decide how they want to obtain and share information. Professionals hypothesize that this occurs in order to reduce dissonance. If one has been through a situation the person can understand and relate. In an example, if you tell a child to behave, they will be given a lollipop, they choose to see and hear what is in their convenience. Because they see that if they do well, they will be rewarded with a candy. Their way of thinking transitions to do well and it conditions them to know that the next time it happens they will know their reward. This happens in the real world and in the media, people choose to see and hear what they want. It’s an option, not forced. Politically charged stories are the epitome of selective exposure.

According to Steve Paulussen and Raymond A. Harder, studies have proposed that social media has become popular in various categories such as celebrity, sports, and political news (Paulussen & Harder, 2014). Political parties like democrats and republicans will read and see stories that come to their advantage depending what party they are running for. According to Florian Arendt, Nina Steindl, and Anna K??mpel, despite the variety of media messages available, audience members tend not to allocate their media choices and available time equally. This is an example of selection in mediated news (Arendt, Steindl, & K??mpel). Another example of this is how certain political parties try and reach out to A-list celebrities so in return they get the exposure from their fans and followers. They end up winning because they gain new followers and it shows how mainstream they are. Adding to this matter, many music artists focusing more on the multicultural side, tending to talk about many political happenings in the present tense. When an artist makes a music video, they always show some type of diplomatic statement so their fans and followers will see it and talk about it. A video that was well-talked about amongst thousands of people was a song called This is America by the artist Childish Gambino. The music video shows content that is shocking sending viewers a message how gun and violence in America is dealt with. This music video had many people talking and sharing posts on social media site like Twitter.

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The Connection between Current News and Social Media Engagement. (2019, Apr 10). Retrieved September 28, 2021 , from
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