Now that Facebook and Twitter have established themselves as the leading social media network sites, they have impacted the users in almost all aspects of their lives. No user can abstain from logging into his or her account several times in a day, as this has turned out to be a mob addiction. It is now the turn for these leading sites to encroach into the news arena as well, as is evident from the announcement from Facebook that it is already busy redesigning the news feed after a long break (last it was done in 2006).
Another announcement from Netflix says that it will be using Twitter and Facebook to release updates on the latest news and other information, thanks to the clearance received from the government regulators. The legitimization of the use of these social media sites to release news updates and even financial announcements marks a new milestone where the information will reach millions of users at one go. This is going to set an example for other companies to follow suit and make use of these social media sites to make important announcements. What exactly this means to these two social media network giants?
It certainly means lot more traffic and more users. What with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigating Netflix and its CEO Reed Hastings and giving the clearance for the Facebook posts, there seems to be no other obstacle. The guidelines clearly spell out the requirements which include that investors need to be notified first, before the news can be released on the sites. In addition to being the Chief Executive Officer of Netflix, Hastings also serves as one of the directors at Facebook. Maybe the SEC did have some reservations due to the conflict of interest that may have existed. Hasting posted on Facebook that viewers of Netflix’s streamed services exceeded a billion hours, which may not have been possible without the vast user base of Facebook contributing to the numbers.
However, some experts are of the view that this development may work in the opposite direction and reduce viewership. The argument goes that people may have to spend additional time navigating the pages (the switching of pages has become rather slow of late) that show the latest news feeds. They may want to spend the time checking the updates from friends and family. In Twitter, the updates from friends are posted date-wise. The news will probably be posted separately as and when the news feeds are received. It is not going to be all that easy keeping up with the news feeds on Twitter, as you would on any online newspaper, which is devoted only to news. Twitter will also have separate pages devoted to posts from friends and others that will be for the news feeds.
As far as the financial information being made available on social media sites is concerned, experts are of the view that there could be a security concern. Investors are exposed to additional risk that they can do without. This uncertainty and risk angle can lead to the markets becoming jittery for no specific reason, leading to unscrupulous brokers and players in the stock market making a quick buck. The very stability of the markets could be affected due to this. One needs to wait to see the actual effect this new development is going to have on individual investors and the markets in general.
Ann Phillip currently works at GlobalX Communications, a site that enables everyone to learn about how to save on broadband and internet cable.