You say you want a revolution

Want to know my thoughts on the debate “Is Facebook a Fad?” Keep reading.

Facebook-hoax

Do I think social media will ever become obsolete? No.

Do I think Facebook will always be the top social networking site? No. 

If anything we’ve seen in public relations over the past few years, there has never been a shortage of new media outlets, blogs and ways to connect with people across the room or across the world. Therefore, I think it is foolish for anyone to assert that today’s most  prominent social networking site will be the same in 10, 20 or even 30 years.

There is no doubt that the Social Media Revolution is here to stay. However, as society’s demands and expectations about how we should interact change, social media sites will both lead trends and follow patterns of behavior.

As a 20 year-old woman, I remember the day I:

  • got my first cell phone at 13 years old
  • signed up for Facebook right before my freshman year of high school
  • started a Twitter account the summer after senior year
  • created a LinkedIn profile my freshman year of college
  • started this blog as a college sophomore

People use different social media sites depending on what information they seek and want to share, and it certainly affects the way we grow up and learn to socialize. In public relations terms, social media has made it a thousand times easier to reach people with a company’s message, while making every move more visible and accountable. Social media certainly has its pros and cons, but the potential to do great things for individuals, companies, countries, and ideas makes me certain that my (in the very far future) grandchildren will have at least heard of the visionary Facebook, even if they are not using some version of it themselves.

What is News?

It’s no surprise that the definition of “newsworthy” has changed drastically over the past few years. But what exactly does that mean for the ones getting told the “news” every day? Does it make certain events or happenings more or less important if they are featured on major news sites?

After looking over some prominent online traditional media sites like CNN.com, FoxNews.com, and the Huffington Post, I noticed that there are some common trends about what is considered “news.”

Huffington Post

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Front page news ranges from “House GOP Cheers Speaker’s Intransigence… The GOP’s Tax Obsession… How They Misunderstand Obama’s Offer” to “Gwyneth Paltrow: ‘I Should Have Worn A Bra.’” From a cursory glance, the news on the Huffington Post website is very heavily focused on politics and pop culture- things that attract readers and generate comments. Is how Jennifer Lawrence looks with or without makeup newsworthy? Probably not.

FoxNews.com

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The front page of Fox News online also is very politics-heavy. The stories have attention-grabbing headlines about spending cuts, and further down the page there are more stories about “Bias Alerts” in media and how “Thousands of Illegals are Already Released.” The news centers on politically charged events, but also offers links to articles about global news, health, business, technology, opinion, and even pop culture articles including everything you never wanted to know about Lohan’s latest trial.

CNN.com

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CNN.com’s homepage features a less politically charged initial news offering. Instead, articles and videos like “Sinkhole too dangerous to enter” and “The reinvention of Ben Affleck” are the first things I see. On the left side of the page there is an article about the most recent spending cuts, and there are links to global news articles and business statistics. Again, “Why We Love Jennifer Lawrence” is on the front page. I fully support it.

My thoughts

Since the advent of social media has made Twitter so many people’s primary news source (at least in my age group), it does not surprise me that current events and “newsworthy” topics rely heavily on popular culture. Politics will most likely always be newsworthy, with most major sites highlighting the same events with different spin. News has changed from telling the public what they should know to telling the people what they want to know.

If you relate that to a public relation’s perspective, I think that it shows that the relationship with the public is more important than ever. If you are not being transparent with those you are attempting to communicate with, then they will be able to find the information elsewhere, which may not necessarily be factual. By being in touch with your public in an honest and productive way and telling them what they should know and what they need to know, a public relations practitioner fulfills the duties to herself, her clients, and her publics.

 

What are your thoughts?