Social media is a critical part of a journalist’s toolbox and is the main traffic driver to a majority of news sites. But between the fake news problems around the election and the rumors of Twitter being sold, 2016 was a rough year for publishers and social.
What will 2017 bring? Here are my predictions:
1. Facebook’s fake news verification tools will expand and have a positive impact on legitimate news publishers. The benefit of reading content shared by friends and family is that you are seeing a curated list of news and interesting articles. But we know that not everything you read on social media is true. Facebook’s new tools (announced in mid-December), include allowing users to flag fake posts and noting in your news feed if the facts are disputed.
Tools like that will have a positive impact on local publishers, whose primary job is to cover local news. Ad Age also reported that Facebook will go after spoof sites meant to take advertising dollars from reputable ones. Maybe the news feed will get less crowded with links as a result, as users become more careful about what they share.
2. Video on Facebook has reached its peak. Facebook moving video to another tab in mobile means there is so much video crowding the news feed. They’ll have to come up with another way to prioritize video for eyeballs. Live video will grow, however, as audiences will continue to watch something unfolding right before them.
3. Snapchat will start adding links. Here’s hoping the fast-growing app will allow links, because eventually creating content in the self-contained space will be too limiting for publishers to monetize and grow audience.
4. Instagram will build out business tools like analytics more, allowing publishers to get more information on their content. Other experts are predicting Instagram shopping to take off as well.
5. Twitter will finally lengthen its character limit. Twitter has eliminated many things from going towards the 140 character count, but it hasn’t expanded it to basic text yet. This will help the social media platform continue to stay relevant, as the election and breaking news showed that Twitter is still a huge traffic driver.