In the past few years, there has been a booming growth in the number of internet users who participate in the online community. As Kim and Cho (2020) proposed, in order to seek common opinions and express individual emotions, internet users produce online communications without temporal and spatial restrictions. Everyone has the chance to be a news generator by sharing information on social media platforms, getting attention and followers while sharing comments. Moreover, the main purpose of using media platforms was sharing news then instant messaging and email (Lee, Ma & Goh, 2011). It reveals the significance that internet users’ willing of taking part in social news. This article will give a brief introduction of how social news sharing originates, and investigate who has gained benefits and who has been in an inferior position towards this transformation from three aspects, political economic and social respectively. Furthermore, individual influences on sharing news will be discussed on both positive and negative sides.
The Origin of Social News Sharing
The transformation of news sharing runs through 3 centuries and involved 4 categories of media. Tracing back to the 18th century, print media prevailed in Western countries. The New York Sun was the most representative journal in New York which “used technology like the linotype machine to mass-produce papers.” ( “The Evaluation of the Media”, 2020). People accessed information and news events by reading at that time.
Moving to the 1920s, especially in Spain, radio broadcasting was extremely popular through delivering poems, narratives and theater play (Scolari, C. A., 2013). Audiences were received cultural edification via listening.
In the mid-19th century, Television, as another great invention, combined both audio and textual elements of media, which triggered the tremendous innovation of news sharing.
“During the first five years of the 1950s, ownership of televisions skyrocketed, affecting other forms of entertainment available to the public. This time period witnessed, for example, the closing of many movie theaters, as motion pictures competed with television for consumer attention.” (Boyd, 2020).
Initially, when cable TV was introduced in the US, an increasing quantity of channels were received due to constantly improved ability to receive signals ( “History of Cable”, 2020). Therefore, family members took a vital role in discussing news during the rise of television.
Nowadays, with the gradual evolution of mass media, old generations are prone to remain and use traditional forms of news sharing, which are Television and newspaper. By contrast, smart devices with social networking software are superior to capture the younger generation’s preference.
Video: When did the news start?
Political Economic Aspect
Online platforms also provide a political stage that encourages all party supporters to express their views freely. Setting votes is a proper example for users to reinforce their stand, also understand the opinions from the opposite side. Halpern, Valenzuela and Katz (2017) argued that the more online discussions citizens have would lead to a high self-efficacy when they deal with political problems. Therefore, users are benefited from online news sharing since it supplies more opportunities to get in touch with their party, by following the official account. Additionally, for the sake of maintaining a fair and balanced online environment, Twitter has deleted inflammatory speaks during the US election period (BBC News, 2020).
As StatCounter (2020) demonstrated, Facebook’s market share occupied 75% approximately among all social media platforms. The fundamental purpose for users to choose Facebook is to social. The merit of Facebook is that all users must follow the real-name policy in order to register an account. This policy helps users to connect and enhance relationships with family and friends and provides a quick way to share instant news online.
In terms of individual influences, the way I learn about political affairs or city news has changed in a large extent. Before the emergence of social media platforms, watching television and reading newspapers was the only approach I accessed to social news. With regard to the newspaper, due to the weak timeliness, it was the real phenomenon that we had no way to get to know a piece of news or a certain event until two days after it happened. Similar to the newspaper, in prime time, CCTV News summarised significant events from state affairs to community news into 30 minutes and presented to the audience once a day. The immediacy of news was not capable to be achieved via the traditional form of news sharing.
However, in this digital era, social media platforms such as Twitter or Weibo provides a convenient and effective mode for people to receive news immediately. According to the Broadband search (2020), the average time that people spent on social media was 144 minutes per day in 2019. In comparison to 2012, the data had a dramatic increase which stood for 62.5%. Pick up the phone, check personal social media account and discover what happened in this minute becomes a part of my daily routine. Also, interesting or shocking posts are frequently shared with my friends, in order to resonate with them in spare time. Newspaper is no longer prevalent since it is gradually fallen into oblivion. Although sharing news online brings a whole new experience for internet users to gain moment-to-moment information, fake news and error messages are posted with no costs and risks since the procedure of spread rumor is just clicking the “Tweet” or “Publish” button. Therefore, the capability of sorting real news ought to be improved because we live in this advanced society with a huge range of genuine and fake information.
To sum up, the transformation of social news sharing benefits both online platforms and users at the same time. However, with reference to the political economic level, users are incessantly producing profits for the platforms, which can be regarded as exploitation (Martin & Dwyer, 2019). New policies ought to be launched to safeguard the user’s privacy and maintain a positive public reputation by mainstream platforms. On the other hand, users who share political comments online gain confidence in politics, and ordinary users of Facebook seek friends and family members via real-name policy.
BBC News(2020).US election: Twitter tightens rules on retweets and victory claims. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-54485697
Boyd, L. (2020). Television Industry: Brief History. Retrieved from https://library.duke.edu/specialcollections/scriptorium/adaccess/tv-history.html
Broadband search. (2020). Average Time Spent Daily on Social Media (Latest 2020 Data). Retrieved from https://www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/average-daily-time-on-social-media
Halpern, D., Valenzuela, S., & Katz, J. (2017). We Face, I Tweet: How Different Social Media Influence Political Participation through Collective and Internal Efficacy. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 22(6), 320–336. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcc4.12198
History of Cable (2020). Retrieved from https://calcable.org/learn/history-of-cable/
Kim, S. & Cho, H. (2020). User–Topic Modeling for Online Community Analysis. Applied Sciences, 10(3388). https://doi.org/10.3390/app10103388
Lee, C., Ma, L., & Goh, D. (2011). Why Do People Share News in Social Media?. Active Media Technology, 129-140. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-23620-4_17
Martin, F., & Dwyer, T. (2019). Sharing News Online: Commendary Cultures and Social Media News Ecologies. Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-17906-9
Scolari, C. A. (2013). Media evolution: Emergence, dominance, survival and extinction in the media ecology. International Journal of Communication, 7, 24.
Sedkaoui, S., & Khelfaoui, M. (2020). Sharing economy and big data analytics. ISTE, Ltd.
StatCounter. (2020). Social Media Stats Worldwide | StatCounter Global Stats. Retrieved from https://gs.statcounter.com/social-media-stats
The Evolution of the Media (2020). Retrieved from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/atd-baycollege-americangovernment/chapter/th e-evolution-of-the-media/#footnote-67-2
Multimedia Reference List
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