Post by @natevegas
Social media levels the playing field. Over the past 5 years, Twitter and Facebook have changed the way traditional media operates, and I think it’s fair to say, Joe Public is just as impactful on the news as Joe Media.
What’s becoming quite interesting is how the cutthroat mainstream media choose to compete for traffic against social media news feeds. From my very unscientific observations, traditional media seems to report real news just fine (reactive), but when it comes to promoting their interest-pieces, (dare I say, proactive?) I’m seeing some really interesting behavior that reminds me of checkout-stand publications. It appears that they’re more about money and less about real, fair, balanced news every day. Are news websites so hungry for ad dollars? And how do they get that money? Traffic, baby.
We respect that writers have to hustle in this day and age. Younger talent, especially, is understandably hungry for that big scoop and ultimately more ink or more air time (whatever the case may be). But frankly, some of the sensationalism squeezed into tweets and headlines is comical – meanwhile they’re just watching the bit.ly click counters to see if what they’ve said is relevant.
My skepticism doesn’t stop there. I think some “news” stories are purposely slanted to see how many comments they can get. Comments that are – yep, connected to social media sites like Facebook to increase reach and drive more traffic. Ever see a tweet or a headline that has very little to do with a story? I have. How many times have you seen something that says, “What do you think about [topic X]? Let us know in the comments below.” Constructing a hostile conversation is much different from actually listening to your audience.
This is a global trend, and I often find myself asking if a story negatively impacts the perception of a major advertiser or maybe someone who came out on the wrong end of a political vote or a real estate deal. But if that were the case, it probably wouldn’t publish in the first place, right? Do we have proof? No. Just an educated guess.