Interdependency between social media and mass media


Media is the microphone for people and organizations to express themselves. In the last century, mass media-print media, broadcasting and television is the main channel for mass communication, while without the provision of innovating business mode, products and services, traditional media triggered a crisis among journalism. Meanwhile, the rapid development of social media has shaped journalism, public relations, propaganda and marketing communications in essence. For example, the popularization of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and other social media and social networks gives impetus to the development of “We Media”, which enables organizations and companies to set the news agenda by themselves, such as forwarding the messages presented on social media.


The most important question

To government, organizations and companies, it is crucial to figure out what kind of media is setting their news agenda since communication strategies rely largely on the answer. The analysis of the resources of the news and the relationship between mass media and social media reveals the answer.

It is reported that the 24-hour news cycle is a false impression and there is even no such a thing since we live in an age where the trend of the pervasiveness of news continues. Online and offline news and messages are interconnected, collided and integrated and there is no single source for news.

There are four major influencing factors resulting in the differences between mass media and social media in news coverage.

  1. The scale of the news event: mass media do well in the coverage of important events while catastrophic events are mostly disclosed firstly on social media.
  2. The degree of the relationship with politics: journalists are passively spoon fed by government and organizations.
  3. Geographic influence: mass media focus on what happen in cities while social media allows for a wider range of sources.
  4. Community influence: heatedly discussed regional issues reported by mass media has previously discussed on social media.


Even so, there is an increasing connection between mass media and social media and they are no longer distinguished by their distinctive platforms since content producers are increasingly utilizing various platforms. The more reliable standard for distinguishing between mass media and social media is the degree of professionalism of the content producer. This standard is set on the basis that the range of media audiences and the reliability of the messages are more influential in the analysis of the effect of the message compared with other factors such as the number of the news and the first to report the news.

  1. There is a rapid increase in the use of social media by government, company, organization and individuals:

A survey conducted among 3542 senior executives shows that 83% of the companies employ at least one social media technology. According to the survey, videoconference (60%), social media (53%), blog (43%), video sharing (40%), Micro blog (25%) are widely used by companies and organizations.

It is reported that in 2012, 70% of the world’s top 500 enterprises have created official accounts on Twitter and have published tweets in the past 30 days. 66% of them have community pages on Facebook, 62% have YouTube account, and 28% have enterprise blog.

In 2011, IBM published The Social Business: Advent of A New Age and tagged itself a social enterprise.

Also in 2011, Gartner Group published The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees.


  1. Social media has influential effect on news agenda and public communication

Janis krums, who was on a ferry, took the picture of the US Airways Flight 1549 making an unpowered emergency water landing in the Hudson River in 2009 and uploaded it to Twit Pic.

The news of the death of Michael Jackson first appeared on a social news site-TMZ and then communicated all over the world through twitter and other social media despite the fact that Hollywood is home to entertainment force.

In 2011, the news of the death of Osama bin Laden firstly appear on Twitter where his neighbor complained about the noise outside. It was then that national security force was raiding Laden’s home.

In 2010, the British Royal Family published the message of the official engagement of Prince William and Kate on twitter.



  1. Shift form mass media to social media

According to the annul report of the State of the News Media by Pew Research Center in 2012 and 2013, there is a shift from mass media to social media in terms of the news consumption and news agenda setting. In 2002, television ranks first in the source of news while in 2013, a large number of people notice that there is a decline in the quality as well as the quantity of the media coverage by mass media and thus they have already stopped listening, reading and watching mass media coverage. Meanwhile, they especially young people turn to network media, in specific, social media to gain the news and information they need.


A report by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in 2011 showed that in Britain, as a channel to news and information, social media began to compete with search engine.

There is a significant trend in the rapid development of mobile device, which push forward the development of digital media including social media.

Another important point is that people resort to mass media as their source of information and then communicate the messages on social media platforms, which enlarges the coverage and the number of the audience. In other words, there is an enhancement in the connection between mass media and social media.


There is a substantial number of evidence showing that social media and mass media are becoming more and more interdependent, with the later gaining information form the former and the former recreating, reusing and commenting on the mass media coverage.


  1. In terms of organization, communication and public relations, social media influence news issues in three aspects:

1). Consumer-initiated: organizations and companies become the object of criticism on social media. For example, consumers give negative feedback on their product promotion activity. With the increase in the complaints of the company by consumers on social media, the company may become the target of mass media.

2). Employee-initiated: While there is a strict regulation, employees may also publish intentionally or unintentionally messages which might lead to the image loss of the company.

3). Company-initiated: the company relies increasingly on social media to convey messages

After the terrorist attack of the Boston Marathon Booming, to reach the timeliness of the communication of the investigation of the attack, Boston Police Department turned to social media and published news on Twitter and Micro blog.



In the second decade of 21th century, a powerful trend is clearly underway that there is a rapid development in We Media, which directly promotes the development of brand and business journalism. Specifically, organizations or companies employ professionals to create attractive websites to intensify mass media communication. Organizations and companies that keep pace with the times are creating their own social media news center. They are conveying messages in multimedia forms including pictures, videos, and links to other social media platforms.



With the concept of the significance of social media, I employ one of the most popular Chinese media platforms Wechat to promote a self-created private and customized tour company AVITECH AUSTRALIA. With the creation of an official account for AVITECH AUSTRALIA, a useful and multifunctional platform, which not only enables the communication of literal, pictorial, audio as well as video messages to users of We chat but also the interactive communication between followers of the official account of the company. The selection of We chat instead of other alternatives is justifiable as follows: 1). It is one of the largest standalone messaging apps by monthly active users. 2). It provides text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, video conferencing, video games, sharing of photographs and videos, and location sharing. 3). Until the end of 2015, We Chat has over a billion created accounts, 650 million active users. With the consideration that target audience being Chinese people from all age groups, it is of great importance to select a platform accessible to the majority of the population. In the meantime, We Chat supports users to register as a public account, which enables them to push feeds to subscribers, interact with subscribers and provide them with services.


  1. (2013). Evolution of the networked enterprise. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/ Evolution_of_the_networked_enterprise_McKinsey_Global_Survey_ results_3073
  2. Barnes, N., Lescault, A., & Andonian, J. (2012). Social media surge by the 2012 Fortune 500: Increase[d] used of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and more. Retrieved from http://www.umassd.edu/cmr/ socialmedia/2012fortune500/
  3. IBM Software Group. (2011). The social business: Advent of a new age, pp. 2, 5. Retrieved from http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/global/ files/us__en_us__socialbusiness__epw14008usen.pdf
  4. Bradley, A., & McDonald, M. (2011a). The social organization: How to use social media to tap the collective genius of your customers and employees. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, p. 5.
  5. Cellan-Jones, R. (2009, January 16). Twitter and a classic picture. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/01/ twitter_and_a_classic_picture.html
  6. (2009, June 25). Michael Jackson – Cardiac arrest. Retrieved from http://www.tmz.com/2009/06/25/michael-jackson-rushed-to-the- hospital
  7. Laird, S. (2012, April 18). How social media is taking over the news industry, Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/04/18/ social-media-and-the-news
  8. Kelly, L. (2010, November 16). Prince Williams’ engagement news comes courtesy of Twitter. The Washington Post, Celebritology 2.0. Retrieved from http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ celebritology/2010/11/prince_williams_big_news_comes.html
  9. Mitchell, A., Rosenstiel, T., & Christian, L. (2012). What Facebook and Twitter mean for news. In The state of the news media 2012. Washington DC: Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism. Retrieved from http://stateofthemedia.org/2012/mobile- devices-and-news-consumption-some-good-signs-for-journalism/ what-facebook-and-twitter-mean-for-news/?src=prc-section



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