Digital Journalism Review

Digest: Game of emotion stimulation for newsrooms, from offline to online

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 September, 2012, 1:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 September, 2012, 2:57pm

"Emotional" was one of two key words that occurred to me during last week's "Social Media Matters" conference in Hong Kong. In one afternoon panel, a group of Asian artists shared their experiences of being social and engaging with online fans. One thing they all pointed out and agreed with is that, from a certain perspective, social media is a game of playing with emotions.

That's quite true. Two weeks ago, SCMP posted a stunning photo taken by one reader on our Facebook page (below), which attracted more than 200 ‘likes’ in just a couple of hours. That photo went on to become the most popular photo we have ever had on our page.

Why? Because people truly do appreciate a beautiful image; Almost as important is that it was a photo of Hong Kong, the city they live in and feel deeply for.

Many internet users have become used to processing enormous volumes of information every hour or even every minute. Scrolling their mouses and clicking different links, sometimes they see and react instinctively, while sometimes, as the artists put it, they act only after something triggers their emotion.

Lucky for journalists, this is not a new game. Think about the sub-editors whose job  is to write headlines for print papers day in and out. Their job is to summarize the stories accurately and choose the words that can entice their readers, stimulate emotion, and keep reading the story through to the end as well.

The problem here isn’t whether or not journalists can play the emotions game-- of course we know the answer-- but how well they can play it online, or not.

It is a question that matters.


(Honestly, who wouldn't like the photo above?)


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