The international uproar over Jan Moir’s story on Stephen Gately, demonstrated the ability of social media platforms like Twitter to impose pressure on news outlets, the law, and advertising.
Jan Moir, a columnist for the Daily Mail, discovered that her story about Boyzone vocalist Stephen Gately’s murder was seen by a worldwide and generally unfriendly readership. The essay sparked outrage due to its ostensibly bigoted undertones and implications. The Mail’s website was inundated with traffic as a result of this. But, perhaps more tellingly, it converted its gross editorial assessments into fodder for internet indignation and commercial pressure.
Moir, her editors, or both, underestimated the pace and scope of real-time internet and social networking sites. They overlooked the platform’s ability to spotlight and pressurize at a high rate and with force. Seeing the Daily Mail learn a lesson regarding public indignation in the digital age would have brought a faint grin to the faces of other media outlets.
Social media networks are rising rapidly across the world as a mainstream activity. Over 60% of all internet users have a social media profile with over 40% using the platforms on a daily basis. In addition, the average time spent online has increased. According to this information, publishers have a lot of work to do.
And this is where the road splits. On the one hand, a user-controlled communication structure has been established where social media users have the upper hand. The traditional institutions are torn between literally “following the crowd” or attempting to have the crowd follow you. In the short term, it may be more profitable or at least steady, but it risks obsolescence and extermination in the long run. If there was a navigation system for the internet, this intersection would not be the tragedy hotspot it is on the verge of becoming.