Social media in the media policy environment.
In Managing Media Work, Flew quotes van Cuilenburg & Mcquail to say that the “media policy environment that has emerged has been on where ‘ policy has generally followed the logic of the marketplace and the technology and the wishes of consumers (and citizens) rather than impose its goals.'” Nowhere is this more prevalent than social networking – opportunities for people to share stories, photos, websites, and connections with their friends, families and colleagues, among other things. While it is true that this has become major fodder for advertising revenue, the fact remains that social media could not have become a viable commercial hub if it were not first incredibly popular with consumers by allowing them to meet their social needs through the use of modern technology.
Pete Cashmore, creator of Mashable, understood the important of social media so well that he was able to turn his one-man blog into one of the most popular technology blogs on the web. In fact, Mashable’s popularity has risen to the point where major media outlets – such as CNN and USA Today – as well as political and social companies like the United Nations Foundation work with Mashable precisely because it caters to an online consumer base. In their partnership with the UNF, Mashable was able to generate incredible buzz about an interview with Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel over Twitter – beating out even Charlie Sheen in terms of of Twitter traffic and spreadability.
What do these trends tell us about media consumption? The popularity of Mashable – not simply as a web blog, but as a web blog about media and social media advncement – is pretty significant in not only telling us how much time people spend on time that they look to get their news through online sources (rather than simply watching CNN or reading USA Today) but that these technologies are important enough that they will go online to read and learn more about these new media. When major news outlets like CNN and USA Today adapt their pociies to work with outside web content providers such as Mashable, it shows their flexibility and adaptability in seeing and unerstanding consumer demands, and adjusting their practices to meet those demands and retain a consumer base.
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