The Social Media Usage in Local Media

The sudden rise of digital communication technologies in the last decade has initiated a radical change in media and news production processes. Especially with the development of social media platforms and the expansion of their usage areas, media outlets started to shape both their news production techniques and publication/broadcast content based on digital conditios. In this process speed, visibility and interaction with the audience gain more importance in news production, thus many media outlets ensure their representation through their institutional accounts/pages that they opened in social media platforms. Research results show that this digitilization trend, which is mostly observed in national and alternative media of Turkey, has similar dynamics in local media. While 89% of 1222 local outlets participating in the research stated that they have institutional accounts on various social media platforms, only 83 surveyed local outlets (6.8%) have any account on social media platform.

According to the data obtained, the most preferred social media platform for digital publication by local media outlets is Facebook (87.2%). Twitter (72.3%) and Instagram (62.1%) are the other platforms mostly used by local outlets, while Youtube (38.7%) is the least used social media channel by local media outlets.

The platform preferences of local media outlets in social media vary depending on the publication/broadcast type and and targeted regions of the outlets. While Facebook is the social media platform that is predominantly used by all publication/broadcast types, the secondary platforms most used by local outlets are generally shaped by publication/broadcast type. For example, local newspapers prefer to use Twitter (65.7%) after Facebook (84.7%), while Instagram (72.2%) is the second most used platform by local magazines. According to the results, the use of social media platforms by local televisions and radios also shows a similar trend. Local televisions stand out as the publication/broadcast type that uses Youtube the most (73.7%) among all. Local radios, on the other hand, mostly share content on Instagram (62.4%) apart from Facebook (81.7%). Therefore, the social media preferences of local outlets differing in line with their publication/broadcast types and contents, reveal that these outlets specifically prefer the platforms where their audience groups are in large.

In addition, the research data indicates that the regional location of local media outlets have an impact on their social media usage rates. According to the regional distribution of social media usage rates, the local media outlets with the highest membership level to social media platforms are localed in the Southeast Anatolia (68.9%), Marmara (68.2%) and Aegean (68.2%) regions while outlets that are not included in any social media platform is mostly found in the Mediterranean (12.8%) and Black Sea (8%) regions.

On the other hand, platform preferences of local outlets in social media are also shaped in line with the regional dynamics. While Facebook is the social media platform most used by local media outlets in all regions, membership rates to other social media platforms vary dependin on the regional location. Southeast Anatolia (77.8%) and Marmara (75.3%) regions stand out as the regions where Twitter is used the most among local media outlets. In terms of Instagram usage, this ranking changes as Southeast Anatolia (71.1%), Aegean (68.9%) and Marmara (63%) regions. Youtube, on the other hand, is most commonly used among local outlets located in Marmara (45.1%) and Southeast Anatolia (41.1%) regions, similar to Twitter usage rates.