With this day in time, social media has become a large part of our daily lives. Did you know that social networking sites are the top news source for 27.8% of Americans? That ranks a smidge below newspapers at 28.8% and above radio and print publications. In our spare time, if we’re not browsing the pictures on Instagram, we’re probably scrolling through our Twitter feed or entertaining ourselves with the hundreds of short videos on Vine. It’s become so vital to young lives that 10% of people younger than 25 years old respond to social media and text messages during sex…. now that’s ridiculous! It’s not necessarily a bad thing if journalists utilize the time spent on their social media websites to develop valuable sources. According to a post on Mediashift.org, Roland Legrand says that having sources on our social networks make it possible to build extended networks, search for story ideas, build contacts and dig up information. However, even more important, they help to build up the relationship between the individual journalist and the people formerly known as the audience.
Along with maintaining conversation in your social networks, quality-feedback and reader-created content can enhance reporting. People who would ordinarily be outside of these groups, yet may have a deep knowledge or unique perspective, can contribute their thoughts under a new light. With these improved digital contributions, reporters can not only make their storytelling richer but also establish loyalty. By media outlets expanding their open communication with fans and followers, they can get an idea of what audiences prefer and dislike because social networking sites spread information faster than any other media. Over 50% of people learn about breaking news from their social media accounts. Due to this shift in attaining information, law enforcement professionals say that social media helps solves crimes more quickly. I guess we see this more and more with each tragedy that happens, such as the Boston Bomber.