The rise of social news sharing: what does it bring to human lives?

"Facebook and Twitter as the social media platform for social news sharing". Image: Lic. Marcos Gasparutti, CC BY-SA 2.0

Social news sharing is one of the internet innovations that has become a phenomenon of increasing social, economic, and political importance as individuals are able to share, create, and participate in the production of news in a large virtual community (Lee & Ma, 2012). Additionally, social media is convenient and easy-to-use for posting content (Kümpel, Karnowski & Keyling, 2015, p.1). Facebook and Twitter are on the rise, it allows the access and sharing of mainstream news that have reshaped the digital culture and the way news is produced (Dwyer & Martin, 2017). 64.5 percent of 24 billion internet users receive breaking news from social media platforms instead of traditional media and 50 percent of users first hear and see breaking news in their social media feeds. Thus, social media have the potential to change the nature of news sharing (Lee & Ma, 2012). This essay highlights the various aspects of transformations that social news sharing has brought to human lives. In terms of politics, social news sharing helps a politician to easier hold campaigns for election and helped them engage with users. In terms of economics, the social media platform is free to access and has affected traditional media. Socially, social news sharing helps raises awareness. Culturally, social media targets an individual personal interest that may affect users’ judgment towards a particular subject, but it increases the exposure of a particular culture. Thus, social news sharing is a part of historical trends in communications media as it has shaped the media.

The Genesis of Social News Sharing

News sharing is the practice of giving a defined set of people access to news content via social media platforms, they can access it by posting, commenting, or recommending it (Kümpel, Karnowski & Keyling, 2015, p.2). After the 1940s, engineers developed ways to create networks between computers, and technology change significantly in the 20th century leading to the birth of the Internet (Hendricks, 2013). Technologies developed to make it easier for humans to communicate with each other (Edosomwan et al.,2011). Interactions in social media are through posting, comments, liking, and sharing news and it has helped individuals to communicate, interact, and engage with others in the digital world. Social news sharing By this, individuals can be more aware and conscious about breaking news around the world.

“Facebook allows posting, sharing, commenting posts which increases social news sharing”, Image: Sean MacEntee, CC-BY 2.0

A Part of Historical Trends in Communications Media and Information Management

Social networks have evolved over the years to the modern-day variety which uses digital media (Edosomwan et al.,2011). According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2015, there is a fall for traditional TV audiences as individuals under age 35 moved to online video, new visual formats, and social media (Newman, Levy & Nielsen, 2015, p. 8). Facebook became a dominant network to find, read, watch, share, or comment on the news each week (Newman, Levy & Nielsen, 2015, p. 8). These social media trends promote social awareness trends as well. An example would be the ice bucket challenge aimed to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) or ALS and it reached over $3 million from 60,000 donors. The #icebucketchallenge popularised because of Facebook and Twitter and through this, individuals are more aware of the challenge. Social news sharing has really shaped the communication world and how people perceive news shared.

“#icebucketchallenge is popular on Social Media”, Image: slgckgc, CC BY 2.0

Social News Sharing to Politics

A growing number of people around the world use digital media technologies to gain and share information (Zúñiga & Chen, 2019, p.365). Digital media play a significant role in the development of democracy (Zúñiga & Chen, 2019, p.366) and it can be seen from Donald Trump’s case. Trump’s social media engagement passes Biden as can be seen from his Facebook page and Instagram. Trump’s official Facebook page reached 130 million reactions, shares, and comments and Biden’s page only reached 18 million reactions. Trump gained 60 million likes and comment on his Instagram post. Thus, social media help gain more engagement from users which is beneficial for election. Furthermore, citizen’s perceptions towards the candidates can be affected and influenced by the political information they have been exposed to in social media and social media exposure plays an important role in collecting votes from citizens (Macafee, McLaughlin & Rodriguez, 2019).

“Donald Trump’s Facebook Page.”, Facebook: Donald J. Trump

Economics Effects

Social news sharing threatens traditional media such as TV. As reported in Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2015, traditional TV audiences fall because individuals moved to social media platforms. Furthermore, 66% of mobile phone users open news every week and people are likely to access news via their mobile browser which suggests that the news link often found through social media platforms (Newman, Levy & Nielsen, 2015, p. 8). Moreover, the convenience of social media made digital media content easy to be updated and will save more time. Aside from that, it requires no expenses of a significant amount of money which enables digital media users to easily pursue their goals online (Zúñiga & Chen, 2019, p.366).

Impact on Culture and Social

In terms of culture, social media targets an individual personal interest. The news that appears on their devices usually depends on what they often see, engage, and interact with. This may affect users’ judgment towards a particular subject. The news they got could build their judgment and perspectives towards it and the often they receive the news regarding the same topic or subject, it will shape how they perceive it and their perspectives about it. News sharing alters the way audiences engage with news and the exposure to targeted news creates confrontation with other opinions and ideas (Kümpel, Karnowski & Keyling, 2015, p.1). Moreover, Facebook and Twitter expose segments of the population to the news that they haven’t seen or heard before which changes the way audiences perceive and conceptualise news use digitally (Mitchell & Page, 2013). Below is a video about how Facebook Ad target audiences effectively and most news pages buy advertisements on Facebook to reach more audiences. In addition, news sharing also helps the exposure of cultural practices as posts shared about culture’s norms, practices, and traditions teaches younger generations.
“Facebook Ad has a huge impact on individuals.”, Video: VICE News, All Rights Reserved. 

Socially, social news sharing increases raise social awareness. News about #BlackLivesMatter appears on social media so often due to the usage of hashtags. Besides people sharing their opinions on social media, they also share news links that can redirect users to the news page and videos as well such as the video provided in the tweet below. This shows that social news sharing plays a major role socially as people can be more aware of the problem.

Twitter: Andy Ngo Twitter. 

How has Social News Sharing Affected Study

Social news sharing promotes learning and offers support through interaction with others. Obtaining news also much easier from social media platforms, various websites and social media networks provide plenty of information that is useful educationally. Furthermore, students can find informational and relevant websites regarding news topics. However, fake news is on the rise. The development of digital media technologies and the fragmentation of information have facilitated the spread of misinformation and or fake news (Zúñiga & Chen, 2019, p.367). Fake news came from negative advertising, propaganda, news parody, and manipulation. This fake news has an impact on human lives. This can be seen in the video below that CBS has been caught broadcasting fake footage by exaggerating the news about coronavirus.


“Coronavirus Fake News by exaggerating problems.”, Video: Sky News Australia, All Rights Reserved.

Conclusion

In conclusion, social news sharing plays a role in an individual’s life and it is beneficial to an extent. Social news sharing increases engagement and interactions of people through commenting and sharing posts or news. A politician is able to hold campaigns for election and reach engagement easier due to social news sharing. Social awareness like #BlackLivesMatter obtained more awareness and engagement through news sharing in social media. It has also helped the exposure to culture’s traditions and practices. However, economically, social media is free and easy to access which affected the traditional media negatively. Also, despite its benefits for education and students, the increase of fake news led to several misconceptions.


Word count: 1428 words

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