It’s trending….but does anyone really care?

“Did you hear that  Bieber is dating Kim Kardashian’s sister?”

“No, I only heard that he broke up with Selena Gomez.”

Social media is now determining what is deemed newsworthy. Gone are the days of finding information by watching  television news or reading a newspaper. Now it seems as though we only know what’s “trending”.What is deemed newsworthy by one tastemaker may not be newsworthy to another. I think it’s a matter of timing. What’s interesting at a given moment. A video of a woman falling off of a scooter could go viral if it’s made visible by Steve Harvey or by Justin Timberlake via Twitter or Instagram. Something so simple can become the next big thing because if who posted it. What does that say about society today? Are we truly the “squirrel!” generation. Are we becoming distracted by trivial things like cats in sunglasses or parodies of popular music videos?

What does that mean for our traditional television news anchors and radio broadcasters? I think now that we are bombarded by videos, Facebook and Twitter posts we may be losing sight of what is really important to us and following what’s trending in our news feeds. 

Are trending hashtags reliable? Are these news stories or media events based on facts. Who is fact checking? What are the repercussions. The evolution of social media is astounding. The reach of online posts and performance measurement has come a long way. My mom told me not to believe everything I read. Now I tell my children not to believe everything they read online. Is social media the new word of mouth, considering how quickly a post can travel and how quickly the story can change.

Social media has undoubtedly changed the way we receive news. According to Kevin Allocca, videos go viral three reasons:

1. Tastemakers- the people who post the video or talk about the video;

2. communities of participation –  who is sharing the video; and

3. unexpectedness – timing.

The same can be said in determining the newsworthiness of a story, blog post, video, etc.

Why Videos go Viral? 

To be honest, I believe that Kevin is right. It’s a matter of being at the right place at the right time.

5 thoughts on “It’s trending….but does anyone really care?

  1. Very true – I’ve noticed this a lot in the past month or so; a lot of incredibly unimportant celebrity gossip “news items” have been trending and popping up on my Facebook lately. Important to note is that you can in fact switch between trending areas of interest – I think there’s an Entertainment (so, celeb gossip), Politics (also celeb gossip, in its own way), Sports and Science tab, which could at least make the whole newsworthinss a little more tailored/useful based on your interests.

    Another thing I noticed is that topics trend based on keywords used in everyday users’ posts, EVEN IF their post is complaining about how dumb and non-newsworthy something is. When I clicked on one of the random celeb gossip trends I noticed that maybe 70% of the posts that the aggregate search brought up were actually complaining about how dumb the piece of news actually was.

    As far as news goes, any attention is positive attention – even negative attention. These sites are still getting clicks even if it’s cynical, angry users clicking them. Which means they’re still making money on it. Funny how the media industry works, eh?

  2. It has always amazed me to see “What’s Trending!” as a segment on CTV News’s six o’clock report in Ottawa. Sure, Jeff Hutcheson’s “Things I Learned on the Internet Today” on Canada AM is amusing to watch, but does it belong on a morning news magazine show? I find these sorts of segments a detraction from serious journalism and reporting about what really matters, putting events into context for viewers about how something will affect them, their friends and family, and their communities. Yes, social media has its place in modern electronic communications and will not be going anywhere anytime soon, but trending is not news; it’s a trend, a fashion, a fad.

  3. Did you see the Powerball thing that went around a little bit ago, I was actually thinking about blogging on it…. however it was like the power ball was at a crazy high price, and someone had made the comment that the Powerball jackpot could solve poverty in America. That went viral, I swear I saw it about 30 times on my newsfeed, however when you stopped and looked at it the math didn’t add up… I thought was I the only one who noticed, how come everyone is sharing this, and commenting in outrage. I thought wow our society has really become that “squirrel” society you were talking about

  4. There are many examples of times when news stories were over shadowed by other news stories based merely on a popularity scale. Some would say Farah Fawcett had the misfortune of dying from cancer on the same die as Michael Jackson. A Hollywood icon in her own right from the 70s and 80s was merely an after thought given the unexpected death of the King of Pop and whirlwind of coverage that came with that.

    The same can be said for Mother Teresa, a woman who is set to become a saint! Her passing under normal circumstances would have been a huge international story that would be covered by every news media outlet. However, her passing did not cause any of the fanfare that she deserved, given that Princess Diana had died 5 days before.

  5. This is very true to the point where I know gather most of my info from organized Pod Casts. As I do not have cable and I was craving actual news within a 20 or 30 minute broadcast and the front page of every internet site seemed to only be broadcasting what was happening to Justin Bieber or how many people are getting divorced etc etc. Where is the world report!! I am learning how to organize and itemized what news sources I want to read instead of the internet choosing them for me.

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