By Gregory West
Note: Originally published in Lambton Shield Newspaper
Yes, without a doubt, the Royal wedding is history in the making. But so is something else here. With all the online interaction over the wedding, one must ask if we really need TV networks to cover such events as this? Right now maybe…But will we down the road?
Not too long ago, major TV networks snubbed any Social Media applications. After seeing that this is what “WE” the public want, and that this is how “WE” communicate, these social “prehistoric” media types broke down, finally “seeing the light”. The major media outlets have jumped with both feet landing in the real world of cyberspace via Social Media applications.
For real time evidence, just look at how TV executives joined the Social Media band wagon for the Royal wedding. They widely encouraged viewers to interact with their television broadcasts via Facebook and Twitter.
The New York Times reported that “ABC News is focusing much of its social media efforts on Twitter for both storytelling and engagement.”
NBC allowed for people to share their thoughts and comments with well over 7,000 people “who have already signed up for the “Event” on the Today Show’s Facebook page.” You could also join more than 32,000 people who followed NBC’s @royalwedding Twitter account live as the wedding progressed.
According to USA Today, television networks are “using social media to engage readers and share minute-by-minute news, giving wedding followers countless social-media-drenched outlets to choose from, including the BBC’s royal wedding Facebook page, CNN’s Twitter posts from celebrities, the Today show’s Facebook page and NBC’s Twitter account @royalwedding.”
In reality, many people will still turn the TV sets on at home. However, statistics are showing more and more people are turning on their iPads, smart mobile phones, laptops and even old desktops to connect to the Internet for many live events. This will only keep growing as the trends catch on.
The print media, including the Toronto Star, fails to see the importance and popularity of Social Media.Gigaom.com, a very popular blog, reports that it is in many cases “fear” that sets some media back. They point out there are more missing the social boat: “”The Star is not the only media outlet making these kinds of errors — while they are happy to use social media to push their content, most major newspapers have failed to take advantage of these tools when it comes to building relationships with their readers.”
Really, if one thought about this, and I am sure wheels are turning in the TV network boardrooms, that the need for reporters, journalists, and radio and TV announcers may decrease. You can bet this is being discussed in colleges and universities around the globe. Could Social Media replace how we get the news? I think it just might…In fact, has it not begun already?
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