So it’s official, according to the Pew Research Centre – more people are turning to social media to get the latest news headlines and find out what’s going on in the world. Why? It’s now about the experience offered. When a major news event happens, it offers a completely different news adventure – live, as it happens, reporting from unofficial channels – people on the ground, uncensored, telling their version of what’s taken place in a different way.
Is it because many news channels just haven’t adapted quickly enough to be as agile with live news? People simply aren’t willing to wait for websites to refresh and update. They want to see events unfolding, in real-time.
This 24/7 society isn’t new, but it’s now becoming part of everyday life for consumers that didn’t traditionally ‘fit’ the target demographics of social media. Forget about those who live and breathe ‘social’, who can’t cook a meal without posting a picture on Instagram, or boasting on Facebook – See Instagram Parody of “Instagram Husband”. Instead, more people than ever are discovering the myriad of, frankly, life-changing benefits. For busy people – and let’s be honest, who claims they aren’t these days – twitter notifications mean you don’t have to worry about keeping on top of the news – instead, it informs you about major incidents, popping up alerts on your smart phone. This alone has changed the way people consume news.
Then there’s all the user-generated content, making news real – as mentioned above, it’s not just about how the official channels are allowed, or decide, to report on it. Anyone now can create live footage, often behind the scenes and become a ‘live on the scene’ reporter of the news.
Some of this is exciting, some of this could be dangerous – remember the hostage situation in Paris just a few months ago, coverage as it happened, as if you were there. But what’s certainly clear is that it’s engaging the public in a different way. Kids are becoming interested in news because it seems relevant; it’s fuelling their interest. What families haven’t been asked those awkward questions about their views on the latest political shenanigans, or worse, sensitive issues reported now that they want to understand?
For the families of the Firework team, we still have radios on in many rooms at home, which informs and captures interest. But at the same time, most family members also have an iPad or smart phone tuned in to various social channels. TV as we used to know it has certainly been marginalised. As for the fate of newspapers and magazines, we’re not alone in predicting that only those that adapt and engage in different ways will survive?
We’re living in a world that is changing so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. But in the same way we’ve all moved online, mobile and social interaction is here to stay – embrace it or miss out, because it’s taking us all on an exciting journey. And for brands willing to experiment with the way they engage with target audiences, the ROI is there for the taking. More on this over the next few weeks, as we take a look at the different ways industry sectors are rising to the opportunity.
Director & Co-Owner of Firework PR
Follow Firework PR on Twitter @fireworkpr