Panel TA8: Social networks and media: we must continue working on it

Published on by Martí Puig (author)

It was a good occasion to reflect on the media and the future that awaits them. Social networks offer many possibilities that have to be seized.

Ahmed El Gody, from Ümea University, has studied the impact of social media's revolution on egyptians medias. Using quantitative and qualitative analysis he can confirm that the egyptians medias, because of new technologies, are changing. But they are not changing as fast as they should. Internet technology arrived in Egypt in 1993 and the first online version of a newspaper was available in 1996. Today, the 68% of the egyptians newspapers have an online version. But the problem is that the mainstream medias are not capable to interact with the audience: "The audience is discussing, but far away from journalists", asserts El Gody.

Another issue of the panel was the increase of citizen journalism, specially in Turkey, where Deniz Demir, of the Marmara University, comes from. "Citizen journalism is the most democratic journalistic type: readers are becoming in reporters", states Demir. In Turkey this phenomenon is growing up fast. Gezi protest's was a turning point. The mainstream media were and are very linked with government, so, during the demonstrations, the self-censorship was very common on the traditional medias. By contrast, citizen medias have increased the 200% on the last couple of years. But they have to deal with two main issues: their problems of financial stability and the difficulties they have to arrive to people not involved in the left-wing social movements.

Subsequently it was the turn of Paulo Frias, professor of University of Porto. The main theme of the presentation: how should journalists face social media platforms. "The idea of a community manager in a newsroom is not useful today, every single journalist knows how to deal with this type of tasks", says Frias. There are three dimensions that have to be taken in account by the medias on social networks: the promotion, the edition and, finally, the distribution. 

Last, it was Jorge Luis Salcedo, from Universitat Autonoma, who exposed his work. We know the influence of social medias in revolutionaries processes around the world (Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, etc.), but: do we know the political impact of social networks in, for example, Catalonia? The social media use is promoting more plurals agendas, concludes Salcedo, but there are few actors that can be influencers and they concentrate almost all the visibility. The most emotive issues, on the other hand, have the highest presence on net. But there's still a strong relationship, reminds Salcedo, between the politics agenda of the traditional media and the topics of social networks.

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