This month I was going to write another informational blog about how to do online marketing better. Couldn’t decide between tips on social media or explaining more about content strategy. Then there was a massive shooting in Orlando. And news of a a sit in in the House. And I was reminded how Social Media brings us closer. I thought I would share about how I use social media personally rather than professionally and some statistics on how others use social media.
I no longer watch the news. I don’t even read the news online on news websites. I read the news on Facebook and sometimes on Twitter. I subscribe to all the local news and national (and in some cases international) news outlets. Seeing their posts allows me to skip the stories I’m not interested in and to delve in deeper if I want on stories that I care about.
This was never more apparent to me than when the nightclub shooting at Pulse in Orlando happened. I didn’t see it on TV, I saw the heartbreaking posts of my friends and their friends. And then I read. I read all that I could. I saw incorrect info and tried to help replace it with fact. I scoured every social media platform I could find.
And so did the television news. Anderson Cooper on CNN showed the pictures and posts of those that had died in a very heartfelt and compelling news report. Most of the big network news people followed suit. Those that had died were no longer numbers and statistics, they were just like our fans, our friends and our followers on Social Media. They had pictures of family and dancing and having fun, just like the pictures we put up on our profiles ourselves.
It occurred to me that I had followed this pattern several times in the last year. The shootings in Charleston, the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, Paris, Brussels, locals shot by police, police shot by locals and an innocent girl gone too soon because of highway games and road rage.
And I’m not alone. Last summer Pew research published that 63% of Facebook and Twitter users got their news from the social media services. To put that in perspective, 630,000,000 people get their news from Facebook. 52% of those continued to follow the story through their preferred social media channel. Again, that would 325,000.000 people following the stories indepth on Facebook.
C-Span cameras were disabled yesterday in the House of Representatives, because the House went into recess. The other party assumed that act would end the coverage of a historic sit in against gun violence by our Democratic leaders. It did not. Posts were shared from the governing body’s floor by staffers and elected officials themselves, in a variety of ways. Forget C-Span or CNN, our representatives took to Twitter, Periscope, SnapChat, Facebook, and Instagram.
Social Media Becomes the News Story Delivery System
News spread, and prompted many calls to Representatives, Congressmen and Congresswomen, and Senators. Those in favor sent posts on Social Media and shared the politician’s posts on Social Media. They also called numbers to share their support.
Those against railed against the posts that were shared asking for the sit in to stop. Phone calls where made to elected officials to stay firm in their resolve as well.
And the mass media journalists had to follow suit. There were two stories to be told. The protest itself, and the rise of the internet posts when the television cameras were turned off.
It looks like this is a pattern that will continue to grow. In 2013, the percentage of people using Social Media was 52% rising 11 percentage points in just two years. (see above chart for reference). The New York Times also believes we’ll see more of this trend, especially the mass media, covering the smart phone video when other access is unavailable.