If you graduated with a mass communications degree, you probably remember a class in theories. One theory that sticks out is the gatekeeping theory – the idea that journalists are gatekeepers of the news. They decide what is newsworthy and what is not. Journalists make these decisions carefully and with journalistic integrity. They have a responsibility to uphold to keep the public’s trust and deliver the news accurately, fairly and without bias. It’s a job the media takes very seriously.
These media decisions impact public knowledge – we the people don’t decide what’s front page, what’s on the 6 p.m. news, etc. But, with the explosive growth of social media, that model is changing. More and more are getting the news from social media where there are options to customize news interests and define the types of stories we want to read about. And with Twitter’s new Moments page, that paradigm shift is clearer than ever.
Let’s start with what the new Twitter Moments page is.
Twitter Moments are meant to represent the latest conversations happening around an issue regardless of who you follow. The new Moments page resembles a mobile news site with a selection of stories and topics. Slate gives a good example of how it works:
“For instance, if you follow a story about the South Carolina floods, Twitter will automatically drop new tweets from that story into your timeline as it develops. Once the story is over, you won’t have to unfollow it—you’ll just stop seeing those tweets.”
The main difference between your regular Twitter feed and Twitter Moments is the Moments are editorially driven. You can read more about Moments from Twitter here.
Who creates these Moments?
As of now, only identified Moment creators can add to the feed. Launch partners include the New York Times, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, NASA, The Washington Post and Vogue. Twitter says it wants to work with a wide variety of publishers to contribute to the Moments page. Yes, these creators are the new digital gatekeepers and they are accountable to the same journalistic standards as traditional media.
The cool thing is the end-user (you, me, etc.) has control over what is newsworthy on an individual level. Do you want to read about world news? U.S. news? Politics? Sports? Entertainment? Or perhaps all of the above. We can follow a variety of stories from different beats without having to flip TV channels or thumb through newspapers.
What does this mean for traditional media?
Social media is taking the news seriously. Twitter has invested big-time in an editorially driven section. And they aren’t the first. Think about SnapChat and its Discover feature. Our newsgathering habits are changing to be more interactive and personalized, and the news will continue to be shared across a multitude of both traditional and untraditional platforms.
What does this mean for our clients?
Social media is a serious communication tool that will continue to build its presence in the market. As part of your organization’s communication strategy, it’s important to consider a multifaceted approach that includes social media.
To see Twitter Moments live, visit https://twitter.com/i/moments.