Social Media – will it make traditional news redundant?


It’s been three weeks. It’s been tough. I’ve felt lost. No I’m not talking about being stranded on a desert island. I’m talking about a digital detox. It wasn’t voluntary. My iPhone has broken, and it’s taken that long to repair.

It hasn’t been quite as dramatic as I’ve described, but there are some things that I have noticed– such as without a smartphone, you are inevitably the last one to hear about anything and not just social news, but any news, whether it be celebrity drama, political controversy or the latest films to be released. Social Media is no longer just an avenue for staying connected with friends, but a source for all news and information.

Most of us are increasingly replacing traditional news sources such as newspapers or news on the television with digital versions, or simply just relying on Social Media to let us know the news that’s relevant to us, after all, we all follow the people and companies we care about. It may seem like a lazy move, but the fact is Social Media is often the first and quickest place we hear about the latest breaking news. It may be a witness sharing an incident they’ve filmed or an actress sharing an announcement of the latest film they’re starring in; any news or significant status updates spread like wildfire on Social Media, reaching thousands within seconds through shares, retweets and likes.

Like many others, I do tend to watch the news on TV whilst eating my breakfast, particularly whilst the current political debates are in progress, but news doesn’t just come around at 7am and 6pm anymore. News, whether it’s breaking or not, is shared online constantly throughout the day, almost as soon as it happens. Not having a phone meant I was the last to know about the new Star Wars trailer, Russell Brand’s meeting with Ed Miliband and the news that Sam Smith has had to cancel his tour due to a throat injury!

With people having the platforms to generate and share their own content, news companies no longer own the news. The fact is anyone can be a journalist now, meaning news companies need to adapt to stay popular and relevant. There is already evidence of this having Social Media accounts such as Guardian culture or Daily Mail Celebrity, allowing the public to receive the relevant news via their preferred platform.

News companies will need to continue to adapt as technology and lifestyles develop, ensuring they still meet their audience’s needs. According to research, Social Media is currently complimenting news websites, and audiences are happy to receive news via that platform, but they will also still seek news from websites and television, showing traditional media is not necessarily being replaced but added to. But we’ll see how this pans out in the future, as the requirement for immediate and relevant news will inevitably only increase.

To my relief, my new replacement iPhone arrived today …. The detox is over. Phew.