Information managers are now bombarded with information from multiple sources: traditional media, the Internet and more recently social media. The demand for fast insight from this data is becoming the primary challenge for those tasked with managing information for business advantage. This article explores how the consumption, analysis and delivery of insight from content are changing and how this will impact information managers in the future.
Content created on social media platforms poses a challenge to the business information researcher, as it is produced with different purposes like social interaction and opinion seeking. Authors are varied and content is valued for its' immediacy and interaction, not produced to directly drive revenue. However, by including viral sensations and diverse opinions, an influential stream of content becomes easily and freely available to the business information manager.
Social media has had a big impact on the news cycle by affecting the traditional print industry, which hasn't responded successfully to the challenges posed by the digital industry. Digital has impacted in several ways: it has made the news cycle redundant - news breaks as and when it happens, producers and consumers have blended – everyone has the ability to create their own content with a Smartphone and competition is fiercer for advertisers because of more social channels. For the researcher, searching across an aggregated news database will reveal almost identical stories across a range of newspapers.
Now that most newspapers have a web presence, social media is driving changes in their editiorial processes and the nature of their information gathering. News stories are expected to be brief and easily digested, particularly on mobile devices. Readers also require more visualization, hence the rise and popularity of infographics. However, with the increase in sources for information comes the issue of trust. Unlike in traditional journalism, rumour and conjecture are treated as fact and it can be difficult to find the original source of information.
Responding to the challenge of easily presented and digestible information takes skill. Information professionals need to present in an effective format without oversimplifying the insight. One solution is Nexis Analyser from LexisNexis, which creates easy to read charts and graphs from research data.
In conclusion, the 21st century information manager has to face more challenges as social media provides content from thousands of sources, making it harder to decide what is relevant. Information companies will need to continue to respond to the changing landscape by integrating sources of information online, and businesses will continue to demand more from researchers.
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