The 24-hour news cycle created a vacuum.
In physics, horror vacui (more commonly stated as ‘Nature abhors a vacuum.’), which helps to explain why we’re seeing so much non-news from broadcast and cable news outlets. Ottawa high school students to be breathalyzed at prom; Dead whales may explode; IKEA giving out lint rollers before Raptors game… and so it goes.
Social media have compounded the pressure, and responded to it. Any individual or organization with enough credibility can and should be a news outlet. Including brands.
Recognizing that information gathered by established newsrooms doesn’t satisfy the demands for hyper-segmented audiences, Facebook launched a news component (FBNewswire) that verifies content posted by the would-be journalists among its 1.3 billion active users.
Facebook’s move raises the stakes for Twitter, whose audience has been breaking news for the past few years, because it provides a filter of professional editors for what is otherwise a flood of social media news flashes.
Brands, particularly those with devoted followings, are geared to play the same role in social media. Because audience attention is split between news, entertainment, personal interests and brands, whichever channel provides the most engaging, accurate, timely and objective content is the one that wins followers.
That’s why many brands are adopting the best practices of traditional news outlets. The smartest ones know that the era of the sales pitch is coming to a close. As they build networks of subject matter experts and replace marketing messages with well-sourced and objective content, traditional news outlets can only watch their audiences decline.
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