Bin Laden’s Death Showcases The Influence of Social Media

Obama Press Conference after Successful Kill Osama Operation

 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110503/ap_on_en_tv/us_bin_laden_media

 
New Yorkers more so than others around the nation experienced a deep emotional connection to the news that Osama Bin Laden had finally been cornered and killed. Most of us know someone who lost a loved one that dark day almost 10 years ago when our beloved city was attacked.
It comes as no surprise that Social Media played an important role in spreading the news, based on the attached article several Social Media platforms including Twitter and Facebook hinted to Osama’s death well before the President’s press conference. Social Media also influenced some to tune-in to the evening news, who might have otherwise skipped it to watch their favorite prime time dramas. 
My takeaway from this article is not that Social Media will ever replace traditional news outlets, however it will influence which television network users of Social Media flock to, depending on who gets the scoop (in the case of this story it seems that CNN was the victor), how influential that user is (Going back to the F-Factor from Trendwatching.com), and also how efficiently television networks utilize Social Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to redirect users to their channel. In my opinion the difficulty lies in striking the right balance at the content level to produce the desired level of traffic. If you stream live on Facebook or YouTube for example there is no incentive for consumers to get to their nearest television set, however if you provide very little content consumers may leave your page/site to follow one of your competitors.
The last point discussed in the article is journalistic integrity, is Social Media eroding news integrity? Since two credible sources are often required to break a story, are tv networks doomed to play second fiddle to the inside man who post the rumor he heard while walking to the snack rooms hours before the planned press conference?
The fact remains that Social Media is changing not only how we communicate and influence each other but it is also keeping us aware of the the things happening around us whether we care about them or not, you didn’t need a newspaper or a television to know Osama was dead, all you needed was a Facebook account, it was impossible to miss the news feed updates of jubilation.
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