What’s in a tweet? Well, if you were to ask SI’s Peter King, Michael Vick, or President Obama, they might give you an idea of the impact a tweet can have.
It all started with a Tweet
According to Philly.com and countless other sources, Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports Peter King released a tweet on Monday: “Yes, Obama called Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to praise the Eagles for giving Vick a chance. Said too many prisoners never get fair 2d chance.” That’s all it took, a second-hand account of a phone call that happened at some point in time.
This tweet spawned a whirlwind of news coverage, commentary, status updates and multiple trending topics on Twitter. A simple Google News search shows over 1,000 news articles posted on the topic in just a few days from all the major news sources.
Social Media and Mainstream News Converging
While the political and emotional impacts of this now infamous tweet and story continue to play out, little has been said about the impact of social media in mainstream news. While it may seem odd that a much discussed story spawned from a tweet, it’s becoming more common according to a report from George Washington University. In the survey posted on MediaPost, about 75% of newspaper and online journalists said they source stories from social media. This doesn’t mean that everything posted online will become a news story but when you combine a reputable source or large enough public voice and ratings-friendly personalities, you get social media inspired news.
Social media first, news second
In the digital world, social media is the new news wire. Stories hit the public before the story has even been written. It’s more important than ever for organizations to have measures in place to monitor social media for threats much as they do for traditional news media. Traditionally this has been a function of PR agencies, but more organizations are looking for a partner that specializes in social media threat tracking.
The bottom line
The moral of this story isn’t whether or not President Obama crossed a line as the Washington Post suggested, or whether Tucker Carlson went too far in his Fox News response. The bottom line is that social media is more than just a fad, and more than just ‘for the kids’ as many still see it. Social media has been integrated into daily life for many of us and is influencing everything from the news we see and read to our purchasing decisions.