I admit it, I'm old school. Early every morning I grab a cup of coffee and walk down the driveway with my hair sticking sideways to retrieve my morning paper before workout. But lately - as in the last few years "lately" - my routine has changed.
Now when I wake up, I pick up my phone and check my Twitter feed. I'm scanning it mostly for news headlines, so I can be up to speed on the latest information before my feet hit the floor. And so it goes. Social media is continuing to evolve to bring even more value to you and me. In fact, there's an arms race afoot between Twitter and Facebook to be our news channel of choice.
Facebook has introduced Instant Articles - a way for the interesting topics to be presented on your feed in a richer, more engaging way. You might've noticed this. Or perhaps you were just pleased that you were able to interact with this new communication package. It's pretty ingenious. FB is even considering a breaking news app that acts very much like Twitter. To counter, Twitter has introduced a feature called "Moments". It allows you to get breaking news and, temporarily share or comment on it with others – in a group outside your normal social network. Look for the little lightning bolt icon at the bottom of your Twitter feed page.
In addition, Twitter is also experimenting with a news tab that will provide a window to breaking news. This is pretty cool for people like me, who prefer to use Twitter as their primary news source.
The whole upgrade thing is about little ol’ you - and of course monetizing the social space. Believe it or not, Facebook and Twitter want to make money (and make you money as well). And they smartly surmise that they will make more of it if they serve you with compelling content. It's a good bet.
Several years ago, social media was about sharing pics of your new puppy, vacation photos or your new recipe for chicken tortellini. Now it's an information engine poised to be your go-to for everything late-breaking.
Traditional papers and news stations, struggling to keep pace as-is, will find it even harder to compete. Their audiences will erode even further. Think about this - when's the last time you tuned into the nightly news for more than the latest weather forecast? Even the weatherman can't keep up anymore - thanks to my handy dandy weather app. To quote Walter Cronkite, "And that's the way it is," (Cronkite was a famous news anchor in the 60s and 70s - yeah, I'm old school).
The world is changing. And we are invited to a ringside seat to watch it happen and comment in real time. Welcome to the next generation of social media. Time to check my “social media” feed again...