How Media is Changing Week 5: Social Climbers and Trending Topics

Continuing on with my “How media is changing” segment, I want to talk about another social media type feature I found on ABC’s home page.

It’s not so much social media as audience engagement, but in the big scheme of things, social media is just another way for audiences to engage, so it’s serving a similar purpose.

Anyway, along the right side of the homepage, ABC has two different sections that allow audience to participate in the news. One section is what ABC calls “social climbers.” It’s a group of stories that have been most searched. The other is a set of stories that are “trending now.” Ranked in order from 1-5, the stories are those from ABC that have been shared the most.
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Now, why are these features important?

“Social climbers” is important because, as stated in previous posts, most news consumers don’t start on an organizations home page. Rather, they use search engines such as google to search the headlines they find important. By displaying headlines that have been searched the most, ABC is assuming that some number of those readers will be looking for those stories as well. When those people who do start at an organizations homepage see that they can easily find the top headlines without having to search for it, their loyalty to the site may be increased.

“Trending now” is a useful tool in sharing the news on ABC’s site with family and friends. The first place that many people see their news is on a social network. Sharing an article directly from the news source instead of posting a status about it drives new traffic to that site.

With the exception of finding new tools that ABC is using, there hasn’t been any huge changes in the time I’ve been surveying the site. However, one point is continuously made; the increasing importance of social media in news.

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