In many countries of the world, including Serbia, Facebook has proved that the internet is not limited to a small segment of the population. Even more importantly, Facebook has demonstrated that the definition of news can vary considerably, depending on whether you ask a 15-year old teenager or somebody who is only ten years older.
Users of social networks on the internet, such as Facebook and Twitter, utilize them mostly to share news from various sources in various ways with their friends and acquaintances – from a photograph of a friend who has changed her hair color, to an interesting article posted on a blog, to a link leading to a news agency web site. Somewhere within this conglomerate of "news" and news, users consume articles published by traditional media's web sites.
Individual users of Twitter or Facebook follow the activities of the persons (or organizations) that are most interesting to them, i.e. they they follow those users who select the news that are most valuable to them.
The choice of news to be published by a certain media outlet, including their order (for example, the selection of front-page news in newspapers and magazines), forms a basis for differentiation of the traditional media. Personal media like blogs, Facebook and Twitter also function on the basis of selection of news. Blogs process the news in a certain way before publishing, while a published link within social networks constitutes a selection of certain news.
The more interesting the news, the bigger is the number of personal media publishing (selecting) that news and the number of internet users it will reach, regardless of whether they have already read it from its source or not. As the time passes, the consumers increasingly value the news itself, and not the media outlet's web site – the same user will easily visit a completely different web site to access some other news of interest (discovered by reading another personal media source, whose selection of news is favored by the user).
The greatest value of today's internet lies precisely in the fact that it has brought democracy in the selection of news – now each user of the internet can serve as a high-quality source of interesting information to their friends. In this environment, the traditional and online media outlets aim to offer their own high-quality selection of news...
Pay attention to the way in which Facebook posts information on the first page of our user account – some users' status is shown much more frequently than in the case of others. Regardless of the fact that you haven't hidden some users, their status is not visible to you anymore – until you visit their profile again, etc.
The Facebook newsfeed (the home page of your user account) is only one example of the phenomenon that will dominate the web in the next 3-4 years. Even today, users can access an increasing number of online services and applications for mobile phones that can help you to select news of interest.
The future of the media lies precisely in learning how to distribute news that are well-selected and processed, and whose quality has been confirmed by many personal media who have selected them. Only in this way the media may be successful in their struggle not to remain "behind the filter".
Dragan VaragicAbout the authors
MC Newsletter, May 6, 2011
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