Sunday, June 10, 2012

Participatory Media: News as Conversation

Corporate participation within social media hasn't been limited to Facebook pages or Twitter feeds, but now the up and coming photo blogging site, Instagram, which most of its users post photos of their personal lives. During the most recent season of American Idol, the entertainment show utilized this platform by regularly uploading photos of contestants behind the scenes and off the studio stage to give the world a personal view. By extending their media interaction beyond the one-way broadcasts on its regular television program, American Idol's social media presence allows audiences to feel more connected to the reality of the show. In a very limited sense, the updates can be seen as both news and entertainment.
While some, however, argue that such updates do not constitute journalism or news in the slightest bit, the disconnect is that these updates aren't purposefully traditional reports in nature. In other words, through digital technologies, journalism has come from a read-only lecture to a participatory conversation. As such, audiences aren't just consumers, but producers and participants. Add this to the way news is consumed: American Idol, whose young viewers access most of their news from instant sources and other social media outlets, had to adjust their media output.

Companies are realizing the necessity for participatory media and their branding strategies. Along with Starbucks, GE, Levis, the list goes on with those using Instagram aside from Facebook and Twitter. With Facebook's recent $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, the corporate presence within social media will become more apparent.

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