Blog 1: What is social media and how to use it to reach more people?

The way of getting information has been changed a lot since the advent of social media. To get updated with what is happening globally, people will follow some official accounts on different platforms, which have become one of the most common ways for them to read news articles. Therefore, it is crucial for journalists to know what social media is and how to report on social media to reach the targeted audience.

As defined on Wikipedia, “social media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation or sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.” In other words, people can connect with others through these platforms via electronic devices.

Currently, there are many social media apps, such as Facebook and Instagram. Different platforms have different popularities. For instance, according to Pew Research Center, only one in five U.S. adults use Twitter, and they tend to be younger and more highly educated. Meanwhile, according to Statista, Facebook has more than 2.41 billion monthly users worldwide. Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly users according to Oberlo.

Additionally, they also have some special functions. For instance, Twitter users can post threads by commenting on their own tweets. Journalists really like to use Twitter to report breaking news or live events because of this function. For example, here are some photos and videos I posted on Twitter in a thread when reporting stories on the Hickman High School marching band. The videos are short but can provide more information for the public and are more appealing than descriptions. The link of this full thread is in the caption. (Here is the written story: https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/horns-up-masks-down-hickman-kewpies-march-on-more-or-less/article_078343ee-cf7d-11ea-9fce-cbe0fc77ecbc.html. Please read it if you are interested in marching)

https://twitter.com/GaoLarissa/status/1288088208446836736

At the same time, news outlets also use other social media to post their news by making good use of their unique functions, like posting weekly news summaries in the stories on Instagram. The stories are ephemeral, which will disappear in 24 hours. Also, some news organizations sometimes hold live-stream discussions with some commentators through Facebook and Instagram. 

By and large, if we want to promote our stories in public through social media platforms, we first have to figure out what social media is and the differences between different apps. Only by making good use of every platform can we reach out to more people. 

Published by larissagao

Senior student majoring in Convergence journalism-multimedia producing at University of Missouri-Columbia; Former General Assignment reporter at Columbia Missourian

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