The beauty of social media is in the diversity it holds. A single person can deliver the same message in a multitude of ways, reaching people never before imaginable. On top of that, year in and year out new and exciting platforms are introduced that continually transform the way we share information.
With that in mind, only a few social media outlets stand above the rest for journalistic purposes. But not all of them.
In the previous sections, I presented three popular social media applications that I felt were most beneficial to high school reporters following extensive research. Yet, during that process, I came across many other types of different platforms available. While I can’t speak for all of them, I’ve listed several below that are gaining popularity, but still lack traction in the journalism profession.
One caution — making this list doesn’t mean these outlets don’t already hold some assistance for reporters, or won’t someday in the future. It simply points to the fact that at this stage in their development, the programs have yet to become a proven commodity among the social media hierarchy, specifically among the media.
This outlet is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for different projects and interests. The way Pinterest works is users upload images on themed boards, known as pins, which then allows others to collaborate or contribute to the brainstorming process (Lammle, 2011).
How reporters could utilize this in the reporting process is still not defined, yet there are some definite possibilities for magazine or visual-dominant publications. Imagine increasing an organization’s user-generated content through such an account.
Originally designed as a business-oriented social networking service, this application has expanded into content sharing and brand expansion. People, businesses, organizations and groups engage through the occupational database to access knowledge, information and opportunities (Bolsinger, 2014).
While shortcomings include audience outreach and visual appeal, there are some advantages for source finding and intelligence gathering. Reporters who are experienced in its interface could locate information quicker than others.
Perhaps the fastest growing application of the newest social media inventions is Snapchat, a photo-sharing app that puts a time limit on the viewing experience of shared images, usually around 10 seconds (GeneralTechHQ, 2013). The outlet has built up quite the following among teenagers and millennials, but not so much with other generations.
Journalistic speaking, story previews and content marketing are some initial ideas towards tapping into this platform and more importantly — its youthful audience. Still, there are obstacles involved on how to do it or if it’s possible at all.
- Helpful link = What is Snapchat? Explained. (GeneralTech, 2013).
Of those mentioned here, this may be the closest outlet to cracking a reporter’s job description in the near future. The website is made completely of user-generated news links with stories that receive the most user votes getting promoted to the front page (Sonderman, 2012b).
It’s pretty obvious where journalists could find value in this, but just how much? Is it worth the time and effort? Is it counterproductive? Reddit tries hard to cut down on self-promotion, thus it can be tricky for reporters to share their content. Only time will tell how valuable this application can be to the media realm.
- Helpful link = A journalist’s quick guide to Reddit, the next thing you have to learn (Sonderman, 2012b).
Lastly, a mystery. Google-Plus was introduced in 2011 as an identity service to enhance many of Google’s own online properties. While it really has yet to catch on, it doesn’t seem to be going away. In fact, it seems to be receiving more backing, at least from its creator (Epipheo, 2011).
But despite the push from Google, the numbers aren’t there yet to consider the application worth a reporter’s time or effort. Maybe down the line, especially if Google continues to funnel all of its helpful tools through the platform. But for now, don’t waste your young journalists’ brain space.
- Helpful link = What is Google+ (Google Plus) and do I need it? (Epipheo, 2011).