In 2012, social media became a major source for breaking news. Before newspapers and other traditional methods of reporting had even heard of a story, everyday citizens were updating their Twitter and Facebook accounts to spread the word. Social media’s immediacy meant that it could always be one step ahead of other sources and have a global reach.
This year saw social media become not just a source of fun to whittle away a few hours on but a space that blurred the lines of journalism. Some of the year’s biggest stories broke via Twitter and for the most up to date information you only needed to check what was trending to catch up on the biggest news stories. From the serious to the trivial, Twitter had it all. Whether it was news from Syrian fighting, Hurricane Sandy’s disruption or even Kate Middleton’s baby news, you heard it first on social media. Journalists are now being beaten to the punch by amateurs telling their own version of events.
— Rozalina Chomsky (@rozalinachomsky) December 14, 2012
— TransportationNation (@TransportNation) November 1, 2012
Omg! Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting a baby!! I’m way too excited about this. That child will be gorgeous!
— Sarah Kimball (@Sarah_Kimball) December 3, 2012
Mobile use has undoubtedly been a driving force for this shift. The ability to access social media anywhere, to film what you’re seeing, to take a photo and update your status means that news can spread quicker than ever before.
This may not spell the end for traditional journalism though. Robert Coxwell has argued that ‘News is more than just eyewitness and a mobile pic’ and there is still a place for well written news articles. The rise of news stories on social media highlights the speed at which we shared and consumed information in 2012 and if traditional journalism is to continue, it will have become more engaged in social media.
Take a look at this infographic to see some of the incredible stats surrounding social media and the news: