Social media and how we consume news today

Today I want to talk about how social media changed how we consume news.

I know that just a few years ago I was reading the newspapers every day and watched my favorite news channel to get the latest news.

But fast forward a few years and now I wake up in the morning and I check my phone or tablet for the latest news. I don’t even watch my latest news channel every day anymore because I cancelled cable.

I get most of my news updates from Facebook and the news channels/magazine I liked there, I usually still fact check on Google again, but certainly not every time.

At the end of the day, I try to watch either the Canadian or German news online.

How social media changed the news

The Global Relevance Review had asked 13.000 people how they consume news. Apparently, 59% see social media as the most important source for news. TV (57%) and “word of mouth from friends and family) came in second and third (45%).

Another research in 2011 by Pew Research found out that about 80% of American adults are online and about 60% are using social media platforms. The same research found out that 90% of Americans get their news from Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or email and just 10% of teenagers are getting their news from newspapers daily.

Sensational and fast news like Buzzfeed (17.2 million subscribers) is what people want these days. People want to share, like and comment. But with all that “noise” in our news feed, it is sometimes hard to see the real news.

“Everybody is a reporter, not every reporter is a journalist “– Xavier Damman

The following TED Talk by Xavier Damman, that was posted on You Tube, talks about how we all became potential reporters with social media. These days we all have a phone with us, which means we also always have a camera with us.

Reporters with professional cameras are not always the best, sometimes it is better the person was there at the exact moment the story happened and it can be reported right away.

Reporting this way makes it also very hard to control it like some countries want to do. It is much easier to control 200 or 300 reporters but when every person is a potential reporter that can be very hard to control. News will still leak out.

“A few voices can change society and the free exchange of information can have a big impact” – Xavier Damman

Take a look at the TED talk down below. It is very informative.

How social media is changing the news – TED Talk by Xavier Damman

How do you consume the news? Do you fact check or do you trust your sources? Do you still read the newspaper? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Social media and how we consume news today. Read my newest blog post and let me know what you think in the comments.

Social media and how we consume media today. Read my newest blog post here:
#news #socialmediatoday #socialmedia

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COM0015: Blog #2 – Social Media and the Political Process

Social media is an excellent way to involve citizens in the political process. By keeping them well-informed and engaged, they will not only be educated about what is happening but also more motivated to want to be a part of it. That means stating their opinions, making their voices heard, and ultimately, turning up at the ballot box.

The Senate of Canada has taken a big leap forward in employing social media as a way of keeping Canadians engaged in the governance of the Red Chamber. In March they partnered with Twitter, an agreement which will see select committee meetings live streamed on Periscope. The Senate also live-tweets events procedural events and votes. And all senators are identified by their Twitter handles.


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This is a significant evolution in the parliamentary process – particularly from an institution typically viewed as being, well, behind the times. Using Twitter allows the Senate to reach out to a younger audience, one who might not know much about what they do or how it may affect their lives. And using a senator’s handle to identify them also gives the public a way to communicate directly with them, automatically making them more personable and approachable. It democratizes the upper chamber which has typically been viewed as the most undemocratic branch of our government.

The next best thing to having our political institutions utilizing social media is having our, well, media use social media. The New York Times has done an excellent job of making their Facebook page a destination for news lovers – not only in the United States, but everywhere.

The NY Times posts stories frequently on their Facebook page and on Twitter, but they also actively involve their followers in story creation. They use their audience as a resource. Often, when covering a topic they will solicit their Facebook followers feedback. For example, if they are writing a story about gender discrimination in the workplace, they will post on their Facebook page asking for people to share their own experiences. They make the news feel less like a reporter-reader relationship and more like a community sharing of information.


Courtesy of

The New York Times also utilizes the Facebook Live platform frequently, for everything from exclusive musical performances to discussions about topical issues. Their weekly discussion series #RaceNYT is a half-hour live broadcast on Facebook that looks at race relations in the US. Often these conversations involve readers sharing their own experiences. The videos are hosted by a New York Times journalist and they take questions from readers in the comments section. They are giving their audience a role to play in the news, not just telling them what is happening.

While there are organizations that are clearly adept at moving the conversation forward using social media, others have not quite caught up. iPoliticsLive is the live journalism branch of iPolitics – an online political news publication based in Ottawa. It provides a new and inventive way to deliver the news to Canadians, but it’s social media outreach certainly needs some work.

In some ways, it is very advanced. iPoliticsLive presents events around a specific issue with a journalist interviewing a panel of experts live in front of an audience. Broadcast free on Facebook Live, the events are available for anyone to watch. They use a new technology called Slido which allows users to enter the event hashtag, ask questions and vote on questions they like. The audience then becomes the interviewer.

Where iPoliticsLive does a poor job of utilizing social media is in promotion for itself. Twitter is used infrequently and then only to live-tweet during events. And Facebook is used only to post links to an upcoming event page on Eventbrite. But they could be doing so much more.

Their social media should be engaging their audience, and reaching out to potential followers who would be interested in their upcoming events. By starting to post more frequently, and asking questions about what new topics should be covered, they will get a better feel for what is important to Canadian citizens.


COM0015 – Blog#1: Evolving Tools and Tried and True Sources

I think it’s now pretty clear that social media isn’t going anywhere. Once you give people the opportunity to be part of the conversation – and to start their own conversations – it will be impossible to retract. Individuals and organizations that are able to use this to their advantage, to listen to these conversations and shape their messaging accordingly, are bound to be successful.

Social Media Pollsters

Last year we saw two of the most shocking election surprises in history. First was the Brexit vote, in which the UK surprisingly voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The second came in November, when Donald Trump (much to the awe of the news networks covering the event) won the presidential election over Hillary Clinton.

The polls had been wrong.

The United Kingdom was supposed to remain a part of Europe. And Hillary was supposed to be the newest resident of the White House. All the polls had said so.

Actually not all.

Traditional telephone polls had been calling for a ‘remain’ Brexit vote and a Democratic victory, but more sophisticated polling technology – that uses artificial intelligence to examine social media – were much more accurate. Advanced Symbolics, a company based in Ottawa, correctly predicted these upset victories, as well as the Liberal’s overwhelming victory in the 2015 federal election. Erin Kelly, the president and CEO of Advanced Symbolics (and a friend of a friend), explains in this article from Policy Magazine how and why social media polling is superior to traditional methods.

Social Media polling

From telephone calls to social media posts – is this the future of the polling industry?

I have not personally had the opportunity to use this technology but I’m a huge fan because it demonstrates just how valuable social media listening is. What would have happened if in the weeks before Nov. 8 voters knew that Hillary Clinton would likely win the popular vote but lose the electoral college and therefore the presidency? Would people in Britain have voted differently if they knew there was a serious possibility of leaving the EU?

Of course social media listening and monitoring is possible without the sophisticated equipment and fancy technology. Facebook is a great tool for anyone looking to monitor what people are saying. Almost everyone has a Facebook profile and it’s the place where people are most likely to share their opinions.

Where do I get my news?

I hate to be unoriginal and say Facebook and Twitter but: Facebook and Twitter. For breaking news from around the world there’s nothing better than these two platforms.


Almost anything that’s happening in the world will be broadcast on Twitter before anywhere else. People will tweet from a crisis before anyone else knows there’s a crisis. And reporters will tweet about a crisis before they have a story written. And even if you’re completely oblivious, the Trending Topics will tell you something big is happening. You won’t get many details with Twitter, but it’s definitely the place to find out you should be looking for them.


You can get breaking news from Facebook too but that’s not the reason I like it. Many publishers on Facebook now use the Instant Articles feature, which means that if you’re reading it on a mobile device, the loading time is almost zero. This means you can actually read the article instead of giving up after looking at a blank page refusing to load. If all you’ve got is your phone to give you information, it’s important that you’re actually able to get that information.

By following and liking the organizations you want to receive updates from, you can tailor your newsfeed to show you exactly what you want to see.


So what do you think? Will social media monitoring soon replace the traditional telephone pollsters?


Images found at and edited by me.

Free ‘Willy’ IRL?

If you’ve yet to notice from any of my posts, I love animals. Cats, of course, but whales run a very close second on my most loved list, particularly orcas. I find them incredibly


Photo by Paul Nicklen for National Geographic

fascinating and they truly are an incredible species. Did you know that they actually hunt as a pack for food, using sophisticated techniques? Or that they are technically classified as part of the oceanic dolphin family? How about the fact that each specific grouping or pod has its own set of vocal behaviors, ie their own languages? The coolest fact is that they are apex predators, putting them on top of the oceans food chain.

This past week SeaWorld made the announcement that they are banning their Orca Breeding Program. SeaWorld, will instead put its focus on ” natural orca encounters rather than theatrical shows, as part of our ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals.” They  will be joining in a partnership with
the Humane Society of the United States which will focus on rescue 160316_SeaWorld_Sidebaroperations for marine mammals; raise awareness of animal welfare; offer humane food options and ; only serve sustainable seafood.
I have mixed feelings about this announcement. I am thrilled they will be ending their breeding program, but I am also disturbed that the option for ocean rehabilitation or of sea sanctuaries (or sea pens) has not been put on the table. These sea pens would be large reserved spaces in the ocean off the coast, closed off by nets or something similar, in order for marine animals held in captivity to be rehabilitated to the ocean life. These animals have been in captivity for so long that it seems right that they should live out their lives in their natural habitat.

Something else that perked my interest was the way in which SeaWorld made their announcement. The video released about the announcement on the SeaWorld Youtube page, is oddly uplifting. The video focuses on the new, beneficial, educational features of the park, turning the end of their breeding program into something positive. At the end of the day however, it is their legal defeat and new legislation in California, calling for these changes, that is at the core of this revolution. The way they are advertising their new seaworl.png
announcement makes me think that they are trying to make people believe (at least the people not keeping up with this legal situation) that they wanted to end the breeding program; that they collectively decided it was best not to continue with the program and that everyone, whales included, would be better off without it.

Their Twitter post also tries to claim this change in policy as a choice. There was no choice in the matter, the change is due to the new legislation put forth in California.


Though the whales living at SeaWorld won’t get their “Free Willy” ending, they are one step closer to a better life. This announcement has made for some interesting conversation. What does this mean for the orcas in captivity? Will they ever be moved to a sea sanctuary? What’s in store for SeaWorld if their main attraction will eventually ‘die off’ without their breeding program? How do we feel about their media campaign about this announcement? I’m interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this. Let me know what you think in the comments!



Com0011, Blog 5 — Getting Your News Through Social Media?

You could be trapped in a “collective social bubble”, IU researchers say

I will be the first to admit that one of my sources (but not my only source) of news is social media. I find it the fastest way to get rapidly changing information, whether it is the recent snow storm that crippled Ottawa or a gunman who shut down Parliament and the downtown core. Traditional media outlets—the Sun, Citizen, Metro, CTV, and CBC—have great Twitter feeds that provide up-to-the-minute updates that they cannot provide in print or broadcast.


However, a recent study out of Indiana University (IU) has researchers warning that people who get their news from social media are at risk of becoming trapped in a “collective social bubble”, compared with those using search engines.

The first large-scale quantitative study of its kind looked at the potential social bias of online news-seekers by comparing the diversity of news found on search engines and social media. The researchers analysed web searches of 100,000 IU users between October 2006 and May 2010; a database containing 18 million clicks by more than 500,000 AOL search engine users in 2006; and 1.3 billion public social media posts containing links shared by more than 89 million people on Twitter between April 2013 and April 2014.

In the research paper published in the open-access journal PeerJ Computer Science, the authors write:

“We have presented evidence that the diversity of information reached through social media is significantly lower than through a search baseline. As the social media role in supporting information diffusion increases, there is also an increased danger of reinforcing our collective filter bubble….Given the importance of news consumption to civic discourse, this finding is especially relevant to the filter bubble hypothesis.”

While social media has become a prevalent way to access information, spread ideas, and influence opinions, concern had been raised that news is being shared within communities of like-minded people (for example, conservative or liberal viewpoints). People may have adopted this behavior as a coping mechanism for “information overload” and may not be aware they are filtering their access to information by using social media platforms, such as Facebook, where the majority of news stories originate from friends’ postings, said lead author Dimitar Nikolov, a doctoral student in the School of Informatics and Computing at IU Bloomington, in a media release.

City should recognize More Local Rescues

About two weeks ago, I read an article on CBC News focused on the new bylaw to put a ban on selling pets from breeders in pet stores within the city. While I mostly agreed with the article, I felt like this article missed the opportunity to showcase all the amazing non profit animal rescue organizations in the city, which have animals equally deserving of adoption.

The article mentions that any new pet stores opening up in the city should “only be able to sell dogs, cats and rabbits that come from the Ottawa Humane Society. ” (Foote, 2016) The mention of other animal rescues in the city should have gotten some spotlight here, simply because I am aware of cat and dog rescues in the city doesn’t mean everyone is. It could have been a golden opportunity for some of the other hardworking rescues in the city.

Don’t get me wrong; I like the OHS. It brought me my beautiful, blue-eyed, deaf cat, Winter, whom I adore tremendously. I found her because she, like most other OHS animals, was on display at oscatrmy local pet store. I love looking at those little guys and gals when I go into pet stores, and it makes me happy to know that they’ll be adopted. However, there are so many additional rescues out there doing amazing work that need recognition.

I do some volunteer work for the Ottawa Stray Cat Rescue (OSCatR). I picked this organization because they have a “TNR” program, which stands for “Trap Neuter Release”. TNR “ends reproduction, stabilizes feral cat populations, improves individual cats’ lives and curbs the spread of infectious disease. The behaviors and stresses associated with mating — pregnancy, yowling, and fighting — are reduced or stop entirely.” By trapping and neutering/spaying stray cats, the population of stray cats slowly and steadily decreases. The OSCatR also takes stray cats in and places them in foster homes, giving them the care; medicine; and affection needed so they can be adopted out. I think the work they do is amazing and I feel like OSCatR and other hardworking rescues should be getting more attention in the media.cbc


As seen on the Facebook comments, others also agree that including other rescues in the article would have been nice to see. It’s definitely an area of interest for others as well. In my opinion, this article missed an opportunity to inform readers of local, non profit rescues in the city. These rescues work hard, if not harder, and do not get anywhere near as much attention  as the OHS; this must change.


What do you think? Do you think the media should have made mention to other animal rescues in the city? Or do you think the mention of the OHS was all the article needed?  Let me know what you think!


Foote, Andrew. “City of Ottawa to Mull Tightening Leash on Dog, Cat, Rabbit Sales.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 22 Jan. 2016. Web. 07 Feb. 2016.

Tucker, Terry. “My good friend is Mark Taylor’s assistant. ” January 25 2016. Web. February 7, 2016. Web.

“Ottawa Stray Cat Rescue.” Ottawa Stray Cat Rescue. Web. 07 Feb. 2016.



COM0015 – Blog #1: Listening Tools & News Sources

Listening is one of the most important elements to a good social media strategy.  We want to ensure we are listening to what people are saying about our competitors, our industry and about us.  By doing this we can look for opportunities to communicate with our audience.  This can be through answering their questions or concerns.  This can also be by providing them with further information.  There are countless ways for us to be able to have those conversations, but they all start with good listening.

As someone who is new to social media in a professional capacity, my skills and tools are still being developed.  However, I have learned to use and appreciate two particular tools for my listening/monitoring needs.

googleGoogle Alerts

I can use Google Alerts to track information on any number of things that I am interested in following.  I will set up an alert and I will be notified when something is picked up with that information.  This allows me to keep up to date on my competition, my industry and about what is being said about my organization.



I really like the tools offered through Netvibes.  It took me a little getting used to the way it was set up but once I got my Home screen the way that worked for me, I find it very useful.  Netvibes allows me to create a listening dashboard.  It allows me to get information and the latest updates about my organization, my competition and my industry.  One of the things I really like is the way it allows me to track everything all on a single page.  It saves me time from jumping from site to site to get the same information.  I also like that I can track things that interest me personally and things that interest me professionally all in one place.  I can get my updates, weather, email and the news all at once.

I have heard good things from other people taking the social media courses about Hootsuite and Klout and I would like to learn more about them.  As I am feeling more comfortable with my current tools, I feel ready to learn about other tools that are out there and available.  Any other suggestions of tools you use and think I should check out?

In addition to listening through these social media listening/monitoring tools, I also listen to sources for news and updates about what is going on in the world around me.  The two tools I use most for those resources are Metro News and Twitter.

MetroNewsMetro News

I really enjoy Metro News for a few reasons.  I like that their mobile web page is so easy to use and flip through, this makes it convenient because I can keep up to date anywhere/anytime.  Metro News also allows me to look specifically at local, national or international news.  It also allows me to look at different cities, which is helpful as my organization has properties in different parts of the country.  I like that Metro News provides me access to a wide range of topics that would be of interest or would affect our residents/prospects.  I also like that their stories are short and to the point.  If I find something that interests me I can research it further when I have more time.


I use Twitter for both a listening/monitoring tool as well as a news and updates source.  I like Twitter because there are so many people using it and again it gives me a lot of information in one place.  There are journalists, politicians, industry leaders, our competition and our residents/prospects all using it which makes it a great resource.

As a listening/monitoring tool I can watch for opportunities to listen and participate in conversations.  I can watch for those reaching out to us or our competitors and use it as an opportunity to engage with them.  I can also watch for people looking for an apartment and make some suggestions based on what they are looking for at that time.

As a news/updates source I can watch for things that are trending that would affect our residents/prospects or our industry.  I also use it to get my local news through #ottnews, as this is often where things will break as they are happening, sometimes before they are even picked up by bigger news channels.  We can then keep our residents informed by sharing the news we find.

Being able to communicate with our residents and prospective residents is one of the main reasons we are on social media.  By using listening/monitoring tools mixed with news/updates sources we can ensure we are aware of our residents/prospects needs and that we are able to provide them with content they will find useful and relevant.

What tools & sources do you use?

COM0011: When the world comes together


#WeAreWinter ?
Sochi gold medal

  Y es we are. Congratulations Women’s Hockey Team for the 4th consecutive Olympic gold! That was an exciting game yesterday, wasn’t it?!  I found out they won through twitter! The video webcast on CBC had a lag!

I was streaming the webcast at work (shh) on one browser window, and another browser with a live twitter feed. It was 6 minutes into overtime, I believe, when I look over to the twitter feed and I see all these tweets “GOAAAAL” and “GOLD” And “Go #TeamCanada”!
“Whaa?” was what I was thinking.  I look at my screen and nothing has really happened. Anyway, I was glad.

  T he Olympics have really brought out the power of social media.
I think it’s during monumental world happenings where it really shines. Positive ones, especially.  I remember NROG’s post on #SochiProblems –– well, that’s still pretty popular and ongoing! Like the recent wolf lurking around the premises… hehe.

For example, I didn’t even see the Virtue and Moir skate routine, but from everyone’s comments – it was apparently a very, very, close call to earning gold.  It makes me intrigued to visit a replay of it online. #TeamCanada support is strong.

Little tidbits here and there, “tweets” from social birds a-flown, turned #Sochi2014 into a giant conversational hashtag army, as if the world was all sitting in the Bolshoy arena. Or huddled around one ginormous TV.

  For those here taking Social Media as a way to popularize a message, or a campaign:
Taking a look at #Sochi2014, a monumental world event, what of it creates the effectiveness of online discourse? Is it the international unity? The comraderie and excitement of sportsmanship? What are the other events with social media strength at national or international scale?

  • Christmas
  • Elections
  • Justin Bieber getting arrested
  • Rob Ford antics
  • SuperBowl

  Are they succesfull because they are positive or funny Pop Culture topics? What about the non-humorous, non-pop sort of subjects like the current devastation in Venezuela and Ukraine? An objective view to the laws being passed under our noses? Or the important information we wish to spread like wildfire? Will they ever have a chance to harness a global hashtag subculture or stir up a social media frenzy? With the multitude important topics – is it possible to have such a big spotlight for all of them?

 Would the world come together for those?

ps: Men’s Hockey USA vs Canada in T minus 20 minutes! 😀

COM 0015 BLOG POST #1 Social Media Preferences


My favorite social media site for professional purposes is Twitter’s Tweetdeck. I have this site open all day at work and I really appreciate the multi-tabs which allow one to monitor various tweets from multiple sources. I have my tweets set to Canadian, US and international news along with trends. Given I work in the news business, this tool has become essential especially during breaking news as it allows you to plug in the hashtag related to this news and you can monitor a tab for all posts related to this story. I am also somewhat selective in terms of those people and sites I follow.
Twitter has changed how I get my news first thing in the morning. A year ago I would listen to NPR and read the Washington Post, now I still listen to the radio in the morning, however I first sign on to Twitter and check posts within the last hour, as well as newspaper articles attached or mentioned in a particular post. Once I have filtered through this information, I think begin going through various newspaper, television and radio websites for any additional stories or background information which I may need for my work day.
Though on a personal level, I do monitor my facebook page on a regular basis, I do not consider this an avenue for work or a place to get information that will help me professionally. For this information, I turn to LinkedIn.
linked in
I have made a lot of professional connections though this website and now I receive regular email updates in terms of recent job openings and discussions through groups, for example,, which will have relevant topics on the film and television industry which is of interest. Here I can also participate in these discussions, pose questions or learn about online forums which may be useful professionally. I have also found LinkedIn a very useful tool for staying in touch with former colleagues and for finding academics and experts who may have an opinion useful for a story which we are trying to tell.
Though I seldom send tweets, I do retweet items I find interesting. I can also use this tool if I need an opinion or suggestion for something which I am working on. As for LinkedIn, I keep my profile up to date, check to see if there are other people I can connect to, and I do look through discussions and posts which I feel will help me professionally.
I would strongly suggest becoming a member of LinkedIn,, even as a means of having another means by which future potential employers can search you, and a way to keep up to date with changing trends within your business. As for twitter, it is a quick way to dip in and out of subjects/topics/trends of interest to you.

COM0011–521 Blog Post #3: Using Social Media in my Journalism


We hear every day that social media has changed the way we do things.  We hear it often enough that the saying has lost some meaning to most of us.  Journalists are keenly aware of this.  Social media has in fact become one of their primary tools. Journalists now rely on social media to get on top of a story before anyone else is even aware of it.  We’ve heard the story of how the people of New York received tweets about the earthquake seconds before they felt it.  In a similar vein, professional journalists are using twitter to scoop one another on current events

Aaron Lazenby, DJ for Pirate Cat Radio, was scanning Twitter one night last year when he noticed #iranelection trending. Curious, he clicked on the hashtag, and started poring over the flood of tweets about the “stolen” election. Lazenby became fascinated with the situation, and stayed up all night talking with people in Iran and reading up on the subject. The next day, he was hanging out with a Pulitzer Prize-winning AP reporter who was completely unaware of what was going on in Iran — news of the protests had not reached the mainstream news. Lazenby seized the opportunity to tell the story. He contacted one of his Twitter sources, who agreed to do an interview over Skype for Lazenby’s radio show. The interview, in turn, was picked up by CNN’s iReport, a citizen journalism portal.”

Social media had alerted the mainstream press to an event faster than their traditional means of finding information. It can amplify voices and events that they would not have otherwise been aware about.

However, the introduction of social media hasn’t been all roses for journalists either.  Being human, they are prone to mistakes.  We often see retractions in newspapers or corrections through a news broadcast.  Mistakes happen.  The problem is that social media can amplify those mistakes as well.

Possibly the worst example of this was the school shooting in Connecticut earlier this year.  Journalists, in a rush to identify the shooter, posted the Facebook profile of one Ryan Lanza.  It was a shame when it was found out to be his brother Adam Lanza.  The amount of harassment Ryan received was nothing short of tragic.  What must have felt like the entire world came crashing down on him in anger and rage.  That journalistic error was made worse due to the very nature of social media.

So the take away is this.  Social media is a fantastic research tool for journalists.  You can often find out information faster than any other means available to you.  The problem with it is that you need to be extremely accurate.  Mistakes travel quickly and can reach just as wide an audience.

Raffaele Furgiuele