Is Social Media the New Mainstream News Source?

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Sad AppleSocial media has very quickly become a place to share news and information. Any NFL fan can watch Twitter on a Sunday afternoon and not miss a play, family members can share updates through Facebook and now social media has become one of the largest sources for news.

In a day in age where we rely on “instant results” there isn’t time to wait around for the major news networks to update their website reflecting all of the breaking news. Instead we turn to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to get the latest gossip.

An Era of Apple Comes to an End as Steve Jobs Dies

Tonight the world learned that Apple founder Steve Jobs died just one day after the first Apple announcement under Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook. As users were disappointed with yesterdays announcement, many were hoping that Steve Jobs would be back for the iPhone 5 announcement.

Just one day later news would break that Steve Jobs has passed away.

While the story may have broke on MSNBC or CNN, thousands of people found out when they opened their Twitter stream or their Facebook news feed. From social media, users had linked out to other news sources but the news spread quickly with thousands of tweets thanking Steve Jobs for “all of the Apples.”

Some people may click to read the full story, the ripple effect had already spread through social media faster than anyone could read the obituaries posted about Steve Jobs.

People didn’t question the source, they just posted their condolences.

Amanda Knox Verdict

Another story that made it big on social media this week was the end of the Amanda Knox appeal. Monday was a big day for Amanda Knox and all of the Americans who have followed her case over the last four years. After appealing her murder conviction, they were waiting to hear the judges final result.

The video was streamed live through websites like CNN, they had a live blog and there was live tweeting going on. Yet, when the verdict was read the tweeting and blogging stopped. Amanda Knox was taken from the courtroom on her way back to gather her things before those who couldn’t get a connection to the live video even knew what the Amanda Knox verdict was.


Immediately turning to Twitter, people were already tweeting the verdict before any of the major news stations had it posted on their update. Within seconds those of us waiting on CNN and MSNBC were able to find the verdict with no questions asked. We immediately trusted the source.

All of this brought up one big question in my mind: Is Twitter (and other social media websites) becoming our mainstream news source?

Social media allows us to customize the news we hear about based on those people we follow. Instead of checking CNN for the news, I find myself checking Twitter and Facebook first. After I’ve made it through that news I turn over to our local news website or CNN. Generally speaking I’ve already seen the major news stories that appeal to me on my social media websites.

Steve Jobs and Amanda Knox are just two examples of how quickly social media can spread the news.

What are your thoughts? Should the major news networks be concerned about social media taking their place?

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

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