Needless to say, it’s been a rough week for our country. After the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, many Americans are ending their workweeks exhausted by tragedies.
When disaster strikes, social media quickly takes the limelight. Authorities mine suspects’ digital footprints for clues and news spreads across Twitter at a lightening quick pace. As one sorts through trending hashtags and decides for themselves which information is most accurate, it’s clear that the fastest reporting now occurs on social media courtesy of professional journalists and ordinary citizens alike.
Case in point: this morning the Denver Post’s front page reported on the FBI’s search for unnamed suspects with fuzzy video images from race day, while my Twitter feed updated with minute-by-minute developments including shootings that unfolded overnight and detailed descriptions of the suspects’ lives. Of course it should be mentioned that Denverpost.com has updated information and is Tweeting along with the rest of us, but this is one more example that proves print just can’t keep up with the World Wide Web.
While the 24-hour news cycle on social media satisfies our need to know breaking information as quickly as possible, it comes with its flaws. As with any reporting method, mistakes will be made and accurate information can be lost in the sea of hashtags. And while social media has often played the hero by crowdsourcing to identify suspects like the New York subway mugging earlier this month, it also has the tendency to turn into a vigilante’s paradise, as documented by the Atlantic this week.
It’s hard to escape the breaking news developments of the week, but this wouldn’t be the Social Media Snap without sharing a few other developments we think you should know about:
· Today Twitter announced it will soon launch the first “in-Tweet branded video” with a new BBC partnership. It’s hard to say exactly what that will entail, but Mashable has a few ideas.
· One researcher has answered part of the social ROI question: with the average user spending 11 hours a week on Facebook, one like is worth $174 to a page. That figure is up 28% since 2010, showing the increasing value of social media.
· Many companies are entering a new frontier after the SEC approved the disclosure of financial information to stakeholders via Tweets, Facebook messages and other social media methods. Appropriately enough, the SEC Tweeted its announcement.
· Congrats to Facebook on its facelift: it rolled out a new logo this week to match the branding of its other page icons. Perhaps a refreshing look is part of an effort to keep the teens from leaving; that age group’s usage of the site has dropped 9% since last year.
Ending this week’s Social Media Snap on a positive note, I wanted to share a snippet of inspiring words from Patton Oswalt that anyone who is active on social media has read at least a dozen times this week. In my opinion, its recurrence only amplifies a message that both sooths and empowers all who read it:
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will."