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Today I found a recent survey from late last year done by PRWeek which states that 70% of Journalists now use Social Media for assisting in reporting which is up from 41% in the previous year. This is a huge increase of journalists now finding the content that they can call on at the drop of a hat, 24 hours a day.

For news and breaking stories the majority of sources come from online sites such as Twitter and Facebook as these are updated much quicker with firsthand knowledge and eyewitness accounts, stories and quotes. Social Media in the past was not considered a viable source of information due to the scepticism of journalists and traditional media. Although with the meteoric rise of Social Media Platforms and Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter who have in some cases bypass censorship to get news, quotes and information to the world wide press in a matter of seconds, it has become a force to be reckoned with and something not to be ignored.

Celebrity Journalism has also started to sit up and take notice of the power of Social Media. With celebrities now offering insights and first hand information about their lives, their thoughts and their daily activity; The celebrity journalists can now come out of the bushes and sit with their eyes and ears peeled to platforms such as Twitter where celebrities converse with each other and the general public. You’re hard pressed to find a celebrity article that has not got some reference to what’s been said on Twitter and this is only set to continue.

What brands and companies need to realise is that all this also applies to them. With the influx of a good majority of the public in all countries now having access to social Media and social networks not only at home but now on mobile internet phones the options to interact with their customer base, and the customer base of their competitors is like nothing that there has ever been before. If a company is not interested or involved in Social Media you have to ask yourself, how long will it be before they are taken over by their competitors who are using Social Media to their advantage?

With the relatively low cost and the endless options which Social Media allows and gives freely it’s an area of new media that is set to be the biggest growth market in 2010. Interest is growing and with more and more companies realising that ignoring or not harnessing the power of Social Media is only going to have knock on effects in the future you need to be a part of it. Start off small and test the waters because the possible return on that investment of time could be the thing that makes you stand out from the competition.

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