What I Learned About Social Media News

Here’s the latest from me, Edward M. Bury, APR, aka the PRDude

Yesterday, I had the great fortune to attend a webinar, “Develop a Social Media News Strategy for Your Company: Follow. Share. Post.”  It was offered by the Public Relations Society of America, and it’s archived for PRSA Members who were unable to attend.

Webinar leader Steve Momorella, partner and co-founder of TEK Group International, offered some excellent insight into the difference between social media news and the traditional news all of us grew up with.

Okay.  A lot of us initially got our news from print and broadcast media.

Here are a few highlights that resounded with me:

  1. Social media news represents a true paradigm shift because information is exchanged and shared; it’s two-way conversation rather than one-way message.
  2. That means the lines have been blurred between who’s the producer, and who’s the consumer.
  3. Every company and organization has great stories to tell. Social media news gives you the ability to tell that story and the resources to drive the dialog.
  4. Perhaps the most successful social media news sites is the Huffington Post.  Of course it provides a very, very robust amount of content.  But it also offers Facebook and Twitter links right from its toolbar, and it offers lots of apps for hand-held devices, making it very easy to share news.
  5. An estimated 57% of Americans use social media sites, and an estimate 97% are consumers of news online.
  6. Ford and Starbucks follow lots of people on Twitter because they want their feedback and an opportunity to respond.  One of the premiere news organizations in the world, the New York Times, has 2.4 million Twitter followers but only follows 199.

These are all interesting statistics and observations. But the one that whacked me across the head was this:

  • 90% of online consumers are so-called “lurkers” who read and move on.
  • 9% add some content to social media sites.
  • 1% add most online content to social media sites.

As a public relations professional and communicator, I’ve fully embraced online communication and relish the opportunity to share my thoughts with whomever wants to read of share them with someone else.  I visit and add to my  profiles just about every day.

I trust that puts me in the 1 percentile.

A final thought: Back in the day, when all of us got our news from the “traditional” news sources, there was a practice designed to learn the “average” person’s perspectives on what was taking place in our world. It was called the man-on-the-street interview.

It’s still used today in some instances.   I hope it doesn’t go away.  It gives those 90% of the online population a way to share their thoughts.

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