I have been sad for many of my Venezuelan friends and co workers lately. The turmoil that is occurring in Venezuela is heartbreaking. I work in digital marketing, and of course, I am constantly scanning my favorite social media channels while trying to up with current events.
Large Social Network
Living in South Florida it is not hard to have a social network that includes friends who are Venezuelan or to have friends that have Venezuelan friends themselves . My boyfriend and one-fourth of my social media friends are Venezuelan. I stay connected to much of my network via social media posts.
Social Media Gives Power to the Powerless
You probably have a couple of friends that are from there and not may know it either. You have at least heard of the country Venezuela as the nation has constantly been in the news for years due to being one of the top oil producing countries in the world with a very controversial and unpopular socialist government.
YouTube Has Become a Primary News Channel
However, there is also Ukraine’s dire political situation. There's no end to user generated content in the form of video content being posted from the war there, often slickly produced. There is also Syria and the rest of the Middle East.
Image Sharing Services
As nation after nation battles for their freedom and their rights as human beings, the rest of the world watches heavy-hearted and with intentions to help but no means to do so except for spreading the word of the uprising on various social media sites.
An Image Truly is Worth a Thousand Words
They also use various image sharing services, such as Instagram and Pinterest, to get their word out.
Images Can Inspire Action
An example of how an image can convey the same message as a thousand words is an image shared on Instagram or Pinterest of a military bombardment over a city. Despite no written caption, an image like this would be enough to show viewers the tragedy and suffering that innocent civilians are enduring in some parts of the world. The image alone conveys the gravity and injustice of the situation in a way that no words could.
Photo Sharing Amplifies the Reach
This image could be enough to mobilize people to take action, donate money, offer support, or spread awareness of a current uprising. It is a powerful tool for expressing an emotion or purpose without having to say anything at all.
People from these countries also increasingly use Short Videos, on platforms such as TikTok, IGTV and Snapchat to get the word out.
The Low-Down on Short Form Videos
Short videos, typically between 30 seconds and 3 minutes in length, are the perfect way to quickly grab attention, illustrate a story or concept, and leave an impact on viewers. Short videos often contain less dialogue, fewer locations and people than long form video content. This allows them to tell stories more economically while still having enough time to evoke emotion.
Shareability is a Feature - Not a Bug
Additionally, short videos are often more shareable than long form video content due to their concise nature, making them a great choice for social media.
Lower Barriers to User Engagement
Another advantage that short videos have over longer ones on platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat is the ability to engage with users more quickly and effectively. Short videos generally require less effort from the viewers, making it easier to grab their attention and keep them engaged. This can lead to more views and shares of the video as users are encouraged to watch it until the end. Furthermore, with the use of captivating visuals and sound effects, short videos are able to communicate complex messages in a condensed format that is accessible for viewers with limited attention spans.
They are also using various instant messaging applications, such as Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Telegram.
However, it is different now than it was in the past when it comes to current events. One should learn to use common sense when posting social media updates.
Your Personal Profile
I think it is also wise to limit what personal information you share via your social media profiles. There are a lot of bad actors around the world just waiting to take advantage of this information, often for nefarious purposes. Share information judiciously.
Social Networking Sites
Social media has entirely changed how the world views the news and how it is reported.
- Social media allows for the rapid reporting of news stories, often before traditional news outlets can catch up.
- News can be shared instantly across multiple social networks and reach larger audiences than ever before.
- The general public is now able to comment on events as they happen in real time, providing a more interactive experience with the news. This creates more direct dialogue between the public and news outlets, while allowing individuals to take part in their own reporting of events. As a result, news stories are often more comprehensive than ever before.
New Technology, New Risks
However, with this new technology comes its own set of risks. Due to the uncontrollable nature of social media, it is possible for incorrect or misleading information to be spread quickly. It is important to recognize the potential of this, as misinformation can have a significant impact on public opinion and lead to wrong decisions being made.
To combat this, news outlets need to ensure that they are verifying stories and sources before reporting them, as well as encouraging their audiences to do the same. Furthermore, it is essential to make sure that stories are presented in a balanced and impartial way so as not to bias the public's opinion on certain topics. Doing this will ensure accuracy in reporting and give readers a better understanding of what is going on in their world.
Verified Sources Must be Part of the Marketing Strategy
In order to avoid losing the public's trust, which is hard to gain and easy to lose, news organizations must make it a key part of their journalistic practices to verify all sources and accounts. This has been an issue with the marketing strategy of various news organizations with deleterious effects on the trust factor we and they rely on.
New Social Media Accounts
One way to increase the certitude that a news source is to look at the age of social media accounts. Certain social media websites are notorious for having groups of social media users suddenly appear after creating brand new social media accounts, make posts, then just as quick, disappear.
Revolutionized the Way We Consume News
Ultimately, social media has helped revolutionize the way we consume news and information. It is up to news organizations, journalists, and readers alike to ensure that accurate information is being shared and the public is not being misled by false stories or misinformed opinions. By taking these steps, we can have a more informed society and make sure that misinformation does not spread unchecked.
Responsibility of the Advertising Industry
This responsibility also extends to the advertising industry. Ads should be vetted for accuracy and legality to ensure that products and services being advertised are not misleading or false. It is important to remember that stories, opinions, and ads all influence public opinion in different ways. To keep people informed and to maintain a sense of trust between advertisers, readers, and journalists alike it is important to make sure that content is not only accurate, but also ethically and legally sound.
Reliable News Sources
Lastly, it is important for readers to be able to differentiate between reliable sources of information and unreliable ones. By researching the facts before forming an opinion, readers will be better informed when making decisions or sharing their thoughts with others. Additionally, news organizations have a responsibility to inform their readers, and that means ensuring that the information they provide is accurate and reliable. By using proper fact-checking methods, news organizations can ensure that readers are well-informed and have a better understanding of the topics being discussed.
The Venezuelan government has been doing its best to control media reporting by revoking press credentials and television licenses, blocking shipments of opposition newspapers, and even physically threatening reporters.
Since professional journalism has been constrained by the government, it leaves social media as the last resort.
Live Video Broadcasts Anytime Anywhere
Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter have become the media salvation for the riots allowing Venezuelans expats, its residents, and the whole world to see first-hand accounts of what is really happening there. They are often seen going live, posting real time updates.
Just How Powerful is YouTube
Youtube has more than 2.291 Billion Active Users. Part of Google, it is a powerful search engine in it's own right. Overall, people watch about 1 billion hours of videos on Youtube, every single day.
Long Form In-Depth Content
While YouTube has become the world's go-to resource for 'How to' videos, it is also the leader in long form content. That means news shows can go in-depth, and often do, on issues like the current situation in Venezuela.
Even Political Leaders Use Twitter
Even the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro and the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez are tweeting to the people and to each other, which can be seen here at The Atlantic.
Staying Abreast of Current Events
According to USA Today, “More than 14 million people in Venezuela out of a total population of nearly 30 million have smart phones, allowing them instant access to news events.” This is further proof that social media has taken a lead in being an extremely powerful source for current events.
My own father, who emigrated from Lebanon in the 60’s, experienced a very different reality when Beirut became a war-zone with his family and many of his friends in the middle of it.
The Need to Communicate is Always There
He told me that there wasn't a social media platform to use to keep up with what was happening. The only way he could hear about the wellbeing of his family, friends, and the circumstances of the civil war was through letters, visitors traveling back to the US, and through faxes.
Status Updates Have Gone Real-Time
Phone calls were difficult as phone lines were often shut down. Phone calls were also very expensive. Now, the whole world can see a civil war, a protest, and any bit of violence minute-by-minute by the people involved in these circumstances because of social media. Usually, for free.
How can Social Media help?
Can social media take the reigns in news reporting? It has been debated that the strength of social media in news reporting is a double-edged sword. Due to the amplification effect it has, social networking is a key part of the growth of power that real people have on the network effect of a piece of news going viral.
Beware of False Information
Many times news conveyed on social media platforms can be misleading with propaganda, fake pictures, fake news and videos, which can be spread very quickly amongst users and create havoc.
AI Generated Deep Fakes
AI Generated Deep Fakes are digital videos or images created by Artificial Intelligence which make it appear that a person is saying or doing something that they never did in reality. These deep fakes can be difficult to spot, as the technology used to create them is increasingly sophisticated. Some of the tell-tale signs of AI generated deep fakes include blurred edges, unnatural facial expressions, and small inconsistencies in body movements. It is important to always be on the lookout for these signs when consuming information from social media platforms, as they could indicate that a video or image has been manipulated. Additionally, it can also be helpful to research the source of any piece of news before sharing it, in order to ensure that it is not potentially a deep fake. It is also essential to recognize the potential for harm that can be caused by such content, and to report any suspicious or offensive materials as soon as possible. By taking these measures, we can work together to protect ourselves and others from being misled by AI generated deep fakes.
As many nations across the globe battle for their rights, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have replaced their former roles as fun-loving social networks and have become a serious platform where people can voice their opinions and educate the world on current affairs.
Social media has become one of the most important tools to spread thoughts, ideas, pictures, videos and opinions.
Learn How to Enhance Your Internet Presence with Social Media
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Until Next Time…