Media Convergence Shaped by Consumer Use of Social Media

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism stated in 2011 that “If searching for news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing news may be among the most important of the next.” Time has only proven that this is very true. With the rise of social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, linkedin, etc. the news has been more about quick and easy sharing than in depth news reports. What society wants is something that is attention grabbing and fast.
The thing about media convergence is that our attention span is getting shorter. Instead of sitting down to watch an entire 6 oclock news program, we can only handle scrolling through twitter and occasionally clicking the 140 character tweeted link that peaks our interest more than the others. News companies must figure out how to downsize their news into something that isn’t too long for our short attention span.
You can tell what news story is being paid attention to by what hash tags are trending. For instance, the use #BlackLivesMatter shows news companies that the public is paying attention and cares about racial issues. If they want their news to be viewed, they should cater to the popular trends.
Media Convergence also has an affect on the employees of news companies. Reporters nowadays must have a social media presence alongside their on camera presence. In the early 2000’s, news reporters had to appear on screen and that was the majority of their job, however, today they must be able to write articles, create tweets, post on Facebook, share photos on Instagram, and maintain their news personality at all times.
Another news employee whose role is changing with Media Convergence is the cameraman. With the rise of the iPhone, news can be captured with one single click and share. The cameraman must now capture film that is shocking, or that is hard for anybody else to capture. Everybody is taking pictures and videos; the cameraman has to take it one step further in order to maintain the upper hand on video.
Ultimately, it is my firm belief that Media Convergence is a by-product of the consumers, not the other way around. The more demand consumers place on social media, the more work big news names have to put in to appeal to those demands. Although the media still controls what we hear and our perspectives on it, with the age of social media, it’s so easy to simply share something that news companies really have to fight to be what consumers are looking for.