When I look at my Facebook profile I’m always disappointed: it’s boring in comparison to the social media masters I know. Nifty netizens comically update their status, post funny pictures and comment on stuff, mostly in ripping one-liners. The social side of Facebook is lots of fun but the news feed is where people get passionate and that’s where it gets interesting.
New ways of writing and reporting are being explored with people like Paul Bradshaw experiment in real time publishing on the internet. Bradshaw recently wrote, “Being able to publish a book about an investigation into the allocation of Olympic torch relay places, while the relay was still taking place, was an incredible idea to me as a journalist.”
More people are moving to digital because it’s faster, more direct and interactive. Online petitions and social activism are fed from Facebook by a young and engaged blogging community. Alan Jones and others have already felt the fire of youth on social media.
In Australia, over 50 per cent of 18-24 and 25-34 year olds are using blogs and online communities according to a recent ACMA report. The routine of updating one’s social media status is, for some, the first thing they do on the morning. The updating of social media has extended into the blogosphere where passionate people connect to other bloggers and consistently post on social media.
About 96 per cent of web users who visit WordPress.com (a blog site) also use Facebook according to recent research. In Australia, ‘blogger’ ranks in the top 10 websites visited, but in the UK and USA blog sites are not so popular.
1. Facebook – 11,500,000 Australian users/accounts
2. YouTube – 11,000,000 UAVs (steady)
3. Blogspot – 3,700,000 (down 100,000)
4. WordPress.com – 2,900,000 (up 1.2 million!?)
5. Tumblr – 2,900,000 (steady)
6. LinkedIn – 2,400,000 (up 200,000)
7. Twitter – 2,114,000 Active Australian Users (steady, below formulae/ calculation).
8. Instagram – 1,510,000 Active Australian Users (steady) – using Facebook estimate, see calculation below.
9. TripAdvisor – 960,000 (steady)
10. Flickr – 800,000 (steady)
11. Pinterest – 650,000 (up 10,000)
12. MySpace – 390,000 (steady)
13. Google Plus – approx 377,500 (see calculation below).
14. Yelp – 200,000 (steady)
15. Reddit – 150,000 (steady)
The rewards for successful blogging are growing rapidly as user reviews now dominate buying decisions and the audience reach of blogs continues to grow. “Blogs and reviews have a notable influence on buying decisions, with 68 per cent of social media users reading reviews before making a purchase decision,” a recent social media report said.
The self-publishing phenomenon is not just pushing a news feeding frenzy. Self-published books have almost tripled over the last five years, with a number of authors making the bestseller lists. While recent book sales in Australia have reflected the fall in newspaper sales, the digital market is rapidly growing through the gaps of both industries. Amazon’s unaudited sales figures in the United Kingdom show that for every 100 physical books sold, readers download 114 eBooks.
As staff at daily newspapers are cut, many people worry about the digital waves crashing down on the once independent press. And the inquiries into press freedom by Leveson, Finkelstein and the Convergence Review all recommend changes to media regulation yet governments in the UK and Australia have been reluctant to act. In response to the changes, News Limited CEO Kim Williams made a speech this week.
“The really positive fact we should keep in mind whenever the urge to declinism overtakes us, is that as I said before, people are now consuming more news across more devices than ever before in human history… They make their names writing books; they break stories in print; they blog online; they tweet; they even host or star on TV programs… Journalists are no longer the gate keepers and purveyors of unimpeachable wisdom. They now hold a conversation with their readers through the marvellous medium of digital technologies.”
Blogging is not new news, but it’s interactive, collaborative way of sharing wisdom with others is reshaping the news as we know it. – Nigel Gladstone