The Construction of Internet Innovations – Social News Sharing

Image: Social News Sharing, attributions to Social Shaw Academy.

Social News Sharing – The power and influence of the production and distribution of the news

Social news sharing is an internet innovation that has transformed the world’s social relations, economic, political and cultural capacity to communicate and transfer information to one another. The social news sharing ecology is a collaboration of the classic and new platforms that through the use of sharing intermediaries such as Facebook and Twitter they have developed trends and relationships that have adapted and shaped to the transformative features of the technologically entrenched 21st century.  The emergence of transformative tools has led to new found ways of transcribing and communicating information from social media platforms to a wider audience including users, journalists, policy makers and regulators. The ownership and control of the key business in the media and communications field is relatively in the power of the individual as it is their interests on political, economic or social issues and their participation in online news that is driving the production of the sharing ecology. The internet innovation has allowed for a greater control of the distribution and production of media content by the individuals, benefiting their perceptions and diversity of opinions and causing competition with the traditional media industry collective.

Genesis and how it plays its part in the historical trends of communications media

Social News Sharing is a significant form of media consumption that constructs a public/semi-public personal profile within a bounded system. The innovation occurs on platforms that are remote server based and internet connected software applications. This perverse focus on connection reflects how it acts as a content management system for the creation of meaning within a context. According to Tim Dwyer and Fiona Martin the process of social news sharing ecology ‘can assist scholars and regulators in thinking more strategically about the future of journalism and media-policy making’ (Dwyer & Martin, 2017,

Image 1: Social News Sharing Ecology, Tim Dwyer and Fiona Martin, July 2017

pp. 1081). Social news sharing has developed and changed frequently, attending to and adapting to new technological developments whilst also supporting its historical means. The social news sharing ecology as presented by Dwyer & Martin, is an interdependent system of industrial players, practices, processes and technologies that together reinforce the power of news sharing analytics’ (Dwyer & Martin, 2017, pp. 1082). The diagram references the development of the attention economy and how its construction has heightened our understanding of the radical changes that have emerged throughout history. A primary importance has been placed on information and knowledge throughout the communication media history. They show the effect that the attention economy has on reshaping the way in which surplus value is produced and exploited (Celis, 2017), leading to an overflow of information and thus reflecting the current power and prominence of social media platforms.

 

Historical trends in communications media maps out the power of social media algorithms and services in conducts and transfers information and news through the agents of social media sharing. The development of social news sharing ties into the construction of later communications media that emerged in the development of social media services and algorithms. The emergence of social media services and algorithms have changed the shape of the media communications world as they are one of the most powerful political tool in digital media analytics (Dwyer & Martin, 2017, p ). The use of the media services and algorithms in social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have enabled the sharing of the production and distribution of information between large companies and news commodification. Donald Trump tied in Twitter to his presidential campaign in 2016, and still currently uses it as a vehicle of self-expression and distribution of news. The use of Twitter allowed him to address people on a large scale and constantly bombard them with tweets on political, economic and social matters, regardless of how morally correct he was, his presence was at the fore-front of the voter’s minds.

 

Image 2: Screenshot of President Trump’s active presents on Twitter, no attribution required.

The “triple articulation” of commodification reflects the power of social media in its ability to exploit audiences’ relations with people, place, time and ideas (Dwyer and Martin, 2017, p. 1084). This exploitation of people’s limited attention online occurred on Facebook when person information of users was harvested on an unprecedented scale (Cadwalladr & Graham-Harrison, 2018), as further researched and explained in The Guardian article. It has led the audience to question their future investment and participation as media consumers on social media sites, as well as the individual control one has over their personal material on the internet.

Who benefits and who doesn’t?

The benefits of transformative effects of social news sharing have given certain people a heightened control and power in the media, and lessened the power of bigger industries. Its effect politically, economically and socially is determinant on which way the news is read and determined by a network of social media services and algorithms. For individuals such as ordinary internet users like students, Facebook and Twitter are powerful social platforms that allow them to add a layer of affordances on top of social networking (Dwyer & Martin, 2017, pp. 1088). The news feed and the creation of group discussion pages on social media platform Facebook, allows individuals to ‘democratise the news flow and to facilitate thematic discussion about (political/economic/social) issues’ (Kümpel, Karnowski, Keyling, 2015, pp. 5). Image 3 displays the sharing of a video of Donald Trump’s demonstration of institutionalised misogyny. The algorithms of the ‘reaction’ button allows for individuals to express their opinion on the issue and the comment bar allows them to take an active participation in discussion. The reaction button reflects an emotional arousal that according to Berger (2011) increases the likelihood for it to spread and gather public attention (Kümpel, Karnowski, Keyling, 2015, pp. 5). The benefit of this transformative effect is that it allows for international active participation and creation of conversation that can challenge one’s initial perception and adheres to the creation of meaning and a broadening of perceptions and voices on topical issues.

Image 3: Screenshot of post on Facebook discussion page, no attribution required

The correlation between Twitter and politics has heightened people from all around the world to participate in ethical and political debates whilst also benefit from a broader acknowledgment of the wide, international news stories out there in the world (Dwyer & Martin, 2017, pp. 1086). Their ability to comment on the broad debate about political, economic and social issues on a technologically heightened, user analytics-based service interaction with a variety of news stories and covers reflects the momentous change in social news sharing. From this, the algorithms of the data base supply a recommended ‘who to follow’ program that assists and benefits individuals specifically media and communication students from gaining both similar and debatable views on issues from the around the world (image 4).

Image 4: Screenshot from Twitter page, no attribution required. 

The transformative effects of social news sharing impact the effectiveness and need for the use of traditional media styles due to the growing integration of individual participation and overall control of reporting news on social media platforms. The journalism industry is facing a competitive stance with the social media companies as being ‘serious competitors to traditional news sources’ (Dwyer & Martin, 2017, pp. 1083). Facebook is a prime vehicle of providing news and information through the use of transformative effects of analytics and algorithms. The integration of check-in safe spots in natural disasters and the creation of discussion pages for political, economic and social current issues, is allowing people to actively participate in the online news culture by posting their perspectives, thoughts and questions about the culture of the world. The interactive, instantaneous and worldwide platform is heightening the control of the individual and decreasing the dependence that audiences traditionally had on newspapers and television as their prime source of information and knowledge.  The use of algorithms on social media are catering towards the interests of the individual rather than the interests of the media, by increasing people’s ability to communicate through the use of social news sharing effects such as algorithms (MacKinnon, 2012, p.150). Therefore, exposing the preferred, valued news rather than the objective, one sided, opaque news traditionally represented in the media industry and reflecting a change of control from the government focused, traditional media industry to the power and hands of the individual in a digitally dependent social news sharing world.

Overall, the internet innovation of social news sharing has influenced, shaped and effected the journalistic context, form and nature in the ever-changing media industry and world. The growth in social media platforms has allowed individuals to take greater control in the discrepancy of news and the type of news it being either political, economic, social or cultural that is communicated across from one source to another.

REFERENCES

Cadwalladr, C. & Graham-Harrison, E. (2018). Revealed: 50 billion Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach. The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/cambridge-analytica-facebook-influence-us-election.

Dwyer, T., & Martin, F. (2017). Sharing news online: social media new analytics and their implications for media pluralism policies. Digital Journalism, 0(0), 1-21.

Kümpel, A.S, Karnowski, V., Keyling, T. (2015). News Sharing in Social Media: A Review of Current Research on News Sharing Users, Content and Networks, Social Media + Society, Retrieved from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2056305115610141.

MacKinnon, R. (2012). Facebookistan and Googledom. In Consent of the networked: the world-wide struggle for Internet freedom (pp. 149- 196). New York: Basic Books.

WH.gov, (2018, October 2). ‘I know you are not thinking’: Trump mocks ABC Reporter – Video, [Video File], https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2018/oct/02/i-know-youre-not-thinking-trump-mocks-abc-reporter-video. 

 

 

 

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