Research Report

Summary of results

In short, from our research we have conducted on hashtags and their relation to breaking news and how we receive them it is clear that on networks such as Twitter and Instagram it is used more frequently by regular users and media platforms like The Telegraph, CNN, BBC and more to emphasize and update the on goings of breaking news or events. The trend, specifically on those two previous mentioned networks, are getting more and more popular, especially on Twitter. It is clear to see that such networks will continue to grow and become more important to share live updates of breaking news or events on Twitter as it more accessible and easier to see through the trending page and you can hear about it from regular users, citizen journalists and big news media outlets. The trend, as we have seen, has not been used on Reddit for discussions or to find communities, they have stuck to their sub-reddits, which works in a similar way. It’s clear to see that the hashtag trend will not be making its way to Reddit any time soon, only time will tell. However, we can look forward to seeing it becoming more prominent on Twitter and Instagram.

Policy recommendations

Summing up the outcomes of the above-stated research, it can be said that all research-related actions regarding hashtags and corresponding news practices allowed to gain clear insights into all involved aspects of this trend.

For businesses who consider using hashtags with their corporate web presence or social media activities for example, it definitely is advisable to implement this development plan, since there is a lot of growing potential within this field of spreading news and sharing information and opinions. Through introducing corporate hashtagging, companies get the chance to revolutionize their way of communication with (potential) customers as well as the spread of e.g. product-related information itself.

As mentioned earlier, using hashtags to spread news on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram is becoming more and more popular, meaning that this trend is expected to further grow during the next years. Moreover, analyses have shown that hashtags are revolutionizing the way users and society learn about breaking news. This implies that the prior goal no longer only lies in conveying the sheer content, but also in expressing own emotions with it at the same time. On the one hand, this can be seen as a beneficial development, allowing users to interact with each other to discuss certain topics and to share their values and beliefs. On the other hand, recipients of news postings need to be aware of this fact at all times. When consuming information on recent happenings, people are forced to scrutinize the provided information to a certain degree, since it is likely that such social media news emerged from people’s personal opinions, implying that it cannot always be considered truthful as well as objective reporting. That is why this recent development must be recognized as a double-edged sword for societal news development.

However, hashtags also speed up our reactions to news, building a whole new sphere of possibilities with it. This implies that in many cases, news do not remain simple news but they allow a completely new content to grow around it. Taking the Instagram example of the Paris attacks and the particularly designed hashtags as well as logos, it can be concluded that making use of hashtags allows users to dig deeper into the matter through finding additional information and accessing as well as participating discussions and talks that are picking it out as a central theme. According to that, users can get an all-round-impression of news items that is way more detailed than the one provided by traditional mainstream media, although at first glance it might appears as if news-related hashtag postings only cover a very limited part of the content. As a result, the research paper at hand proved that hashtag news-reporting can be used as a tool to access profound and relevant information.






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