Technology is completely re-sculpting the way in which consumers receive news.
You are sitting at home, on the couch, after a hard days work and are ready to hear about what happened in the world today. But, instead of hearing about the murder-suicide of the Kansas City Chiefs player your local news station is sharing a segment on the newly crowned high school spelling bee champion, which is less than thrillin. You shut off the TV, take out your smart phone, open one app, and before you know it you learn about that horrible incident with the Chiefs player faster then you can spell s-e-l-e-c-t-i-o-n.
Technology has provided people with the ability to choose what they want to consume, in regards to receiving news, rather then simply just being provided with news.
For example, when an individual sits down in front of the TV, listening to the news, as referred to above, this individual has no control over what he or she is consuming. At the same time, what is being broadcasted may not even be a topic of interest to certain audience members. Now, with smart phones, the audience no longer sits in idle waiting to be given news because news can be received virtually anywhere. Instead, smart phones are providing individuals with multiple sources to consume from. “People are now selecting…what they want to watch.” Says Mara Schiavocampo, a digital correspondent for NBC Nightly News, “so you also have more engaged viewers.” With the ability to choose what is being consumed audience members are much more engaged with what they are viewing because, obviously, this is what they wanted to view or they would have not selected that specific piece in the first place.
“People are consuming so much video and so much audio,” Says Walt Mossberg, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, “sucking down tremendous amounts of data, 40 to 50 times normal, on this device.”
From Mossberg it is easy to see that the use of these devices has significantly increased in the last few years. Constantly having this “hand held computer”(Mossberg) at our disposal has, not only changed the way in which news is consumed, but has made us even more connected to each other through various social media sources. Watch the full interview between Mossberg and Schiavocampo here
Social Media, and more specifically Twitter, are completely changing the way individuals are receiving their information. It seems that within seconds of an event occurring there will be some sort of news on Twitter for the public to access. What makes this process even more immediate is that everything can be done directly from a smart phone. Now, more then ever, people are able to communicate on certain issues at a mass level.
Elia Powers, a professor at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, explains this further by stating, “The audience that exists now has a better means of communicating with others. People are now talking to different people and learning about different perspectives…people are more informed and more able to find other people who have similar interests.”
Elia Powers explains how audiences are better informed through social media
To clarify, essentially, the interaction that takes place, through social media networks, causes an individual to become better educated on a specific topic, from learning the viewpoints and opinions of other users, which they otherwise never would have ascertained. For example, if an important event occurs, most of the time, this specific event will start to “trend” on Twitter. Twitter users are able to click on this trend and are immediately exposed to website links, opinions, and general information provided by other users about a specific occurrence.
Social Media has provided news organizations with the ability to gather a greater audience.
With this sudden change the audience is provided with much more participation when it comes to events, such as sports, award shows, ECT. It would seem that with this newfound participation that the number of audience members would grow. And according to Elia Powers this is exactly the case. Powers states, “News organizations use social media now, not only to find new audiences, but also to promote their existing content to existing audiences. So you can both extend your brand and also give people the same content in another form.”
Technology and social media are affecting us in ways we may or may not realize. In today’s day and age we are provided with the tools to consume massive amounts of information in extremely efficient ways, amazingly on a tools that are not bigger then the size of a hand. It is interesting to think that in the near future fathers will no longer be stereotyped in the morning by reading a news paper at the kitchen table, but rather, checking their iPhone.
Closing this post is an interview between myself and Scot Pollins, a Business major at the University of Maryland, Scot’s question was tailored more towards whether or not he thinks that social media is producing a larger audience in professional sports.