The Internet is a vast and large digital world, a compilation of data and information by many different individuals all across the planet. With the help of various platforms, websites, and social media, the Internet is no stranger to news sharing. The term news sharing is used to describe the activity of distributing a specific kind of content instead of posting personal content like pictures, anecdotes or one’s feelings. News sharing is defined as the practice of giving people access to news content in social media platforms, whatever form it takes Papacharissi on her literature about Affective Publics: Sentiment, Technology and Politics, wrote that news sharing has caused communication contexts to merge and thus, socio-cultural, economic, and political tendencies and tensions are collapsed. This has proven accurate as lately many researchers shifted their focus into finding the relationship between news sharing and social media. Academic research regarding news sharing has peaked in 2013, showing a growing interest in deducing the phenomenon (Kümpel et al., 2015).
A portrait showing a news portal accessed through a mobile phone
In the last decade, the meaning of consumption, production and distribution has shifted significantly. The dynamics of social media and how they altered the media industry’s development is something to behold. In 2017, based on a survey conducted by the Reuters Digital News implies that social media platforms have become the primary news source for 33% of people under the age of 25 in most developed countries. Another survey on 2018 reported an amount amassing 53% of young people has seen or assess news on social media during the previous week (Newman, 2018, as cited from Martin et al., 2019).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgpqNzXw4rc (Source: The Infographics Show, 2012, Standard Youtube License)
A Short History
There are many different reasons and background as to why someone wants to share news online. In this digital era, data is like oil. Currently, our era is situated in a digital economy where data is essential. A very valuable commodity, yet complicated and difficult to control. It is wrapped in ideology, mythology and contest (Joris Toonders, Yonego, 2014). News is fundamentally the action of reporting information that breaks with the normal flow of events. It helps people make sound decisions about their lives (Mencher, 2011). Yet when we observe the current condition of news journalism, there is a heavy power shift from traditional media to a new and digital form.
Statistics showing the amount of global data produced each day
In order to understand the sole purpose of news sharing, it is important to trace back what started the occurrence, which was journalism. According to the American Press Institute , journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating and presenting news and information. The product of journalism can be distinguished into different products or forms. To its core, journalism is crucial to democratic societies. As time moves on, journalism seems to shift from being a formal published agenda into something much more public and accessible to all. News journalism used to be a normatively apprehended system, used to inform the populations about issues of public interest. Being a ‘watchdog’ or one of the fourth estate of the government is journalism’s social purpose. As sociologist Herbert Gans wrote, news is often written about the elites – such as celebrities, politicians and successful businessmen. He further explained that ordinary people would never come into the news except as statistic (Gans, 1979). However, this soon changed as in the last decade social media has enabled the average people to experience diversity and change the media’s focus.
A Role of Social Media
With the help of social media platforms, normal people are able to write, produce and share news. Social media refers to Internet-based services that allows individuals to create, share and seek content. Individuals can also use it to communicate and collaborate with each other to create content (Kim et al., 2010 as cited from Lee & Ma, 2012). Based on a Reuters Institute report, social media have brought valuable insights to commissioning and reporting. This pushes users to news sources that they wouldn’t normally encounter and provides them a wider range of choice in their media consumption. Audience themselves are able to push narratives and highlight issues that matters, participate in public debates and alert others to public disputes in means to educate others (Martin et al., 2019). Other reasons as to why people share news can be to gain reputation, draw people’s attention, attain higher status among peers, or self-serving motives such as entertainment or escapism from the real world (Kümpel et al., 2015). Likewise, the act of online news sharing can be motivated by different kinds of social connectedness, gratification and interpersonal expression.
A Twitter account retweeting Koreaboo, a Korean news outlet
Issue and Solution
Rationally speaking there are always two sides of a coin, social media and news sharing have had both positive and negative impact. Numerous individuals get stuck spending excessive amounts of time creating and sharing content, many of them lost sense of what is fitting. Based on a report by Kümpel and friends, people who share news in social media perceive themselves as opinion leaders. They tend to have a big number of followers and friends who shares the same attention towards a common topic. Thus, these opinion leaders are gradually becoming an important key figure in building society’s perception. Digital opinion leaders are individuals who use online spaces, such as blogs, forums, social networks and other forms of social media in a collaborative manner. These people play a key role in advertising and generating messages or content to influence other people’s attitudes (Huhn et al., 2018).
The mere existence of digital news sharing changes everything, in a political, economic and social sense. By all means the general population, as in everyone, benefitted the most from this transformative phenomenon. As opposed to traditional media, in which communication channels are limited and information was passively received, new media pushes interactivity and also participation. Everyone can access the information that they need, as well to communicate and collaborate with each other. The nature of news has changed with the prevalence of social media. News consumption are more personalized and participatory, people are exposed to the world more than ever (Lee & Ma, 2012).
A series of social media platforms for personalized content
Although news sharing and social media has its share of limitations and disadvantages, debatably it is very useful for studies. Being able to access different kinds of materials, information and data is a great benefit. The Internet has made it easier for individuals to access books and educational resources. If we look back twenty or thirty years ago, studying online or even reading news out of your mobile phone is impossible. Though, there’s always the negative side. All these great pluses that was listed made us forget that the Internet is a vast and horribly distracting. Technology has made every resource available everywhere, thus creating poor studying habits. Somehow it made myself feel lazier towards educations, since I can easily search it on the Internet. Getting caught up in viral news and hoaxes are also another thing. It is really easy to believe something when everyone talks about it.
News sharing shouldn’t be considered as something horrible and pinned down as something sinful. Communities can be built upon individuals who shared the same interest. However, its implementation should be regulated and controlled accordingly. Individuals who get too caught up on news sharing can end terribly. During these troubling times, news sharing has helped millions of people. News sharing shouldn’t be seen as a hurdle towards journalism, it should be seen as an innovation to improve its traditional ways. Its participatory and personalised nature can help us further understand what it means to be human.
Gans, H. J. (1979). Deciding what’s news a study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time. New York Pantheon Books.
Huhn, R., Brantes Ferreira, J., Sabino de Freitas, A., & Leão, F. (2018). The effects of social media opinion leaders’ recommendations on followers’ intention to buy. Review of Business Management, 20(1), 57–73. https://doi.org/10.7819/rbgn.v20i1.3678
Joris Toonders, Yonego. (2014, July 23). Data Is the New Oil of the Digital Economy. WIRED; WIRED. https://www.wired.com/insights/2014/07/data-new-oil-digital-economy/
Kim, W., Jeong, O.-R., & Lee, S.-W. (2010). On social Web sites. Information Systems, 35(2), 215–236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.is.2009.08.003
Kümpel, A. S., Karnowski, V., & Keyling, T. (2015). News Sharing in Social Media: A Review of Current Research on News Sharing Users, Content, and Networks. Social Media + Society, 1(2), 205630511561014. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305115610141
Lee, C. S., & Ma, L. (2012). News sharing in social media: The effect of gratifications and prior experience. Computers in Human Behaviour, 28(2), 331–339. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2011.10.002
Martin, F., Dwyer, T., & Palgrave. (2019). Sharing news online : commandry cultures and social media news ecologies. Palgrave Macmillan.
Mencher, M., & Mcgraw-Hill Companies. (2011). Melvin Mencher’s news reporting and writing. Mcgraw Hill, Copyright.
What is journalism? Definition and meaning of the craft. (2017, July 18). American Press Institute. https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/journalism-essentials/what-is-journalism/