Impact of Social Media and Technology Companies on Digital Journalism

Impact of Social Media and Technology Companies on Digital Journalism

Şükrü Oktay Kılıç (Kadir Has University, Turkey) and Zeynep Genel (Okan University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5696-1.ch007
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A handful of social media companies, with their shifting strategies to become hosts of all information available online, have significantly changed the news media landscape in recent years. Many news media companies across the world have gone through reorganizations in a bid to keep up with new storytelling techniques, technologies, and tools introduced by social media companies. With their non-transparent algorithms favoring particular content formats and lack of interest in developing solid business models for publishers, social media platforms, on the other hand, have attracted widespread criticism by many academics and media practitioners. This chapter aims at discussing the impact of social media on journalism with the help of digital research that provides an insight on what storytelling types with which three most-followed news outlets in Turkey gain the most engagement on Facebook.
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Globalization and advancing technological infrastructures have made it easier for people to reach the information. Rapidly increasing popularity of Internet encouraged many companies to launch their own websites and grow into new audiences and costumers by keeping them updated on their initiatives. Realizing the importance of digital world, they made significant effort to adapt to the strategies in order to be visible on Internet. Companies, industries and institutions, which were reluctant to shift their strategies to digital, faced with unpleasant financial consequences.-By the raise of digital spaces, “the business has started to transform their stories into the digital zones such as Google that accumulates and blogs good stories about the users utilizing its search services”(Alexander & Levine,2008:12). Additionally, social networks have gained rapidly momentum and become the most consuming platform of both traditional and new media.

Media companies also had to rethink their strategies in order to maintain their businesses in the digital world. Being able to create content formats that attract the online-news consumer became an important metric for the news media organizations for measuring their success. Therefore, many news-media companies around the world formed new departments in their online newsrooms to be able to be attractive to the users in newly emerging platforms.

Large technology companies such as Facebook and Google played important role in shaping the principles of changing communication ecosystem. It is suggested that, as the shift to digital continues to accelerate, the impact of big online companies on the journalism industry will make its presence more visible. As suggested by McLuhan, the medium has increasingly begun to shape the message (2013). The increasing use of mobile for accessing the information makes it inevitable for content creators to think about how to deliver their work to the audiences in faster and attractive ways. According to We Are Social’s Global Digital Trends research released in 2017, video has become the dominant digital format in the Internet, because use of mobile devices for consuming content has increased by 30 percent since 2015 (We Are Social Report, 2017).It is considered that the social media and technology companies’ shifting towards native content strategies will continue to have game changing impact on how the digital content is produced, distributed and consumed. Especially, the structure of social media companies has become a determiner of the news reporting formats regarding desired consumer interactions. Due to emerging popularity of social media digital formats consumption, news platforms have started to form their content by this new formats. From this point of view, the study aims to evaluate whether digital storytelling formats shape the journalism in terms of interaction. Interaction is determined as a key point to understand its effect on the news reporting. Because the digital communication platforms are considered has a dominant role in gaining audiences’ attention. Attention is becoming the primary focus of companies and corporations to survive on cyber space. As a leading question, it should be evaluated that these digital storytelling formats will be dominant on journalism trends in next future. The study is inspired from Marshall McLuhan’s theory, which explains the importance of media device’s habitat on media issues. The main idea is evolved from the power of the new media devices on media content consumption and its results on journalism trends and influences. In the first part of the chapter, the revolution of social media that includes its interaction is explained to understand the importance of social media and its habitat in terms of audience attention and interaction. In the second part of the chapter, the raising popularity of social media is explained with its effects on journalism.

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