The paper "Social Media Impact on Society: Social Media and the News" is a good example of an essay on media. It seems that the changes brought by social media in our life were noticed by each and every Internet user. Social media reshaped the very concept of communication making it possible to shrink the distance between interlocutors giving them a chance to speak from the most remote corners of the planet. Social media made every user of social media an active contributor to it, in other words, those who once were only consumers of media became prosumers- those producing content. It is clear for everyone who is registered on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. By posting textual and visual information (photos and videos), sharing information of other users, assessing it with the help of likes, and commenting users get involved into the process of information creation and transformation. So social media can be truly called a revolutionary phenomenon which influenced traditional information processes. The concept of news has also changed with the appearance of social media: journalists, as well as papers and channels, started using social media for spreading the news, for forming opinions and for initiating public discussions.
Speaking more precisely about different novelties implemented via social media it is necessary to pay attention to comments. Commenting on websites and social media platforms have gained exceptional popularity recently (Deuze 67). According to Outing, commenting changes sufficiently the procedure of news perception and delivery. At the most basic level, the possibility of commenting allows expressing personal opinions, criticizing or appreciating the content created by real journalists. Any site that gives users the possibility of commenting receives an opportunity to see instant feedback on the information and determine the most popular reaction. Moreover, readers` comments add to the content of the articles and can give a brief analysis of the information. That is why commenting can improve the original content (113). Moreover, a big number of today online journals provide readers with the most popular stories and articles on the basis of attention paid to them. CNN and MSNBC have these “Must read top 10” and other websites often make conclusions from the history of users` participation (Haas, 9).
The appearance of citizen journalism can also be attributed to a social media appearance. Citizen journalism is sometimes called participatory journalism and is defined as the act of citizens who take part in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information in order to provide public with accurate, up-to-date, and relevant data demanded by democracy needs (Shayne & Willis, 2003). One of the brightest examples of citizen journalism is dated back to 1963 when Abraham Zapruder took his camera movie camera to capture one of the most significant events of the American history of the XXth century- John Kennedy`s assassination. Three days later the video was sold for almost $150.000. That was the moment when making news became available for common people (Allan & Thorsen, 2009, 83).
Most often the appearance of the very concept of citizen journalism is connected to the events that happened in South Asia in 2004. The gigantic tsunami hit the shore so unpredictably that hundreds of people (holidaymakers generally) were caught in a trap. It turned that the majority of information regarding the situation was achieved with the help of “accidental journalists” through their blogs, videos and camera snapshots uploaded on social media accounts. A number of newspapers marked the appearance of citizen journalism at that time due to the fact that news agencies became dependent on simple people in search of information. At that time reporters, producers, and professional cameramen sent by their editions went not to the places of catastrophe but to the airports and hotels to find the witnesses of disaster that could share their videos (Allan & Thorsen, 2009, 67). In today`s reality citizen journalism serve as a driving force for mass protests in many countries such as the Arab Spring and revolution in Ukraine, Eastern Europe. During these events, people communicate and arrange their actions via social media.
However, access to social media and the appearance of the concept of citizen journalism had negative consequences as well, connected mostly with the inability to check the information. While editors, reporters, and journalists play an active part in gatekeeping for public knowledge and they choose this role consciously, accidental reporters do not take this kind of responsibility. Gatekeeping presupposes choosing, creating, editing, placing, scheduling, and rubbing information to turn it into the news. Journalists are responsible for the way reality is created in the perception of the audience with the help of media while accidental journalists tent to capture separate facts that can distort general perception (Shoemaker, Eichholz, Kim and Wrigley, 233). So it is necessary to pay attention to the news that is created or passed via social media. This news is the future of the media but still, it is necessary to create regulations that would make them reliable and trustworthy.