It seems that every news site on the web now employs a full time member of staff just to sit and watch Twitter feeds and pick a topic that might be news.
In the office this week the team has been shocked by stories of ‘RIP Jackie Chan’ and Katy Perry’s feud with Calvin Harris. Both of these stories originated on Twitter, the first being a major hoax might I add, Jackie Chan is fine (as of writing).
What these stories led us to talk about in the office, is the effect that social media now has in forming what the mainstream channels (Google/Twitter/Facebook) deliver as online content.
For example, the main reason Jackie Chan was trending was because people were tweeting: “Why is RIP Jackie Chan trending?” This causes a cyclic effect (some might call it viral).
Even now this post is adding fuel to fire in making people think that it’s Jackie Chan-based or that Jackie has kicked it to a higher plane.
One earlier example of this social method of changing what people find, is an article that was written to discuss changes that Facebook had made to its login form. When the article was originally written, it ranked well for the term “Facebook Login”, leading people to find the page when searching for the same term.
When arriving on the page, it appears some people thought this article was Facebook, and feeling a little confused; people added comments to the article along the lines of: “I don’t like this new Facebook log in”, which gave it higher relevance and so further rankings. To date, the article has over 3000 comments and still enjoys a good ranking for that term, something that Facebook have done well to counter-act and return to number one in.
To summarise, it appears we are all now responsible for what will become mainstream news, I for one am hoping that we can all work together and get Rebecca Black to number one.