It’s always nice to be asked to go on the BBC (as their digital marketing and tech expert.) But it is quite scary to be asked to Review the Papers ..... especially these days in the modern world.
As... for one, I don’t read papers that much. I prefer the real time real world non corporate filtered world of social media and...
And.... two, the world has recently gone a bit crazy. And so gleaning some positives from the host of newspapers I was given was tricky too.
BUT... what I did find reading 10 newspapers in an hour cover to cover. I found that the world is full of positive news... but most of it is covered digitally, ironically enough.
THE WORLD IS FULL OF POSITIVE NEWS IF YOU SEARCH FOR IT.
For example, the horrible terror attacks in Nice France. Nothing positive here. Just terror, horror, anger, death and sorrow.
Except when you search a little more, you can find a couple of positive stories due to digital / social media. i.e. A baby that has been reunited with her mother – thanks to Facebook – after the mother posted her picture on there.
Or, the millions of people that came together to stand up against the terror. With positive pictures, beautiful artwork and sentiments through the hashtags #PrayForNice.
Another story of the week was the funeral of Jo Cox MP, Britain’s own terrorist murder. And here again we see the "positivity" of social media with her political killing.
“‘Jo would ask us not to fight hate with hate, but draw together to drain the swamp that extremism breeds in. Thinking of all victims of hatred today.”
This sentiment was shared throughout social media. And I was proud to be able to mention him and Jo, and the good they both have done for the world in my review.
THE "POSITIVE" NEWS ABOUT HASHTAGS
As even with the appalling story of Jo’s murder, as the first martyr of some of the darker forces behind Brexit and beyond. We see the positive side of social media. With hashtags like #LoveLikeJo helping create a social movement that has raised over a million pounds for her charities.
But when on the BBC I had the feeling that the reporters didn’t like social media. Why would they, technically, it’s their competition. And so they shunned the positive effects of hashtags and of the images that are often attached to them.
“When [she] woke up a day later, countless photos of people gathering for Jo were flooding in on social media.... Thousands of people in Trafalgar Square were holding up the portrait of Jo on posters, boards and pledge cards. People from all walks of life were doing the same in Batley, Dublin, Buenos Aires & New York. The image had taken on a life of its own as part of this larger movement. — it was being carried by love, with people building their own meanings on top of it, all of them resolving to #LoveLikeJo.”
This is the positive power of social media. However, perhaps the traditional media wants us to feel "other things".
Proven by on the day of the review, we had, Peirs Morgan a different commentator, saying that we should do more. More than just tweet hashtags and share “positivity” after terror attacks.
He proposed a more violent set of actions.
Ironically, this might be exactly what the terrorist might want. So I will not give his thoughts more of the oxygen of publicity here.
WHAT WE ARE DOING IS POWERFUL.
Often hashtags and social movements, as reported above, are belittled by main stream media. They are seen as trivial and fad like holding no real power. But let me take you back to the “icebucket” challenge. A viral sensation last year, a hashtag charity phenomena, something that everyone was sharing on social media. But was it worth it? Was social media powerful enough to do anything?
“The gene, identified as NEK1, has been found to contribute to hereditary Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease. The gene is associated with three per cent of all ALS cases, according to the ALS Association.”
But was it social media that did that? Yes. As the social media movement managed to encourage 17 million people to upload videos, raising over £87.7m ($114m) for them. Compare this to the previous year. The ALS Association received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period (July 29 to August 20) the year before.
The difference is clear.
“One year without social media, the next with, and the year later a breakthrough paid for by people being positive.”
After being on the BBC, my conclusion is that social media for all its faults. All its trolls and unfiltered opinions. It is a much better source of “news” than the traditional papers.
After reading 10 such papers, from different political persuasions. I was struck just how differently they reported the SAME events.
How different they were even in the “facts”.
They are just as biased as you or I, if not more so.
Some of the more right wing ones were almost too upsetting to read. More importantly, they didn’t seem to really report any different news at all. And certainly very little positive news, even the rise of PokemonGo was seen as a potential evil!
As we all know PokemonGo has some amazing positives.BUT...
As the saying says “Bad News Sells Newspapers.” And there might be psychological reasons for that, that are as old as the hills. Reading such bad news might have a stranger effect on you than you would think. As research by Dr Denise Baden, an associate professor at Southampton Business School, has found that the more negatively people feel after consuming bad news, the less likely they are to voice an opinion or take action to improve the world around them.
The same is not the case for social media – as positive news again and again is shared more. Which is one of the reasons I, with Great Marketing Works, train people and companies in social media, I know it makes a difference. Not just to the "bottom line" but to company cultures, employees and perhaps more importantly to society itself.
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