In the age of social media and websites that allow for collaborative news sharing, keeping track of articles that garner attention can be a difficult task. And analyzing what makes specific articles successful in comparison to others even more so.
A group of researchers conducted a study on news articles and their shareability based on articles found from four German news sites. They then analyzed the way the content performed on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.
In order to conduct the study, the researchers formulated three research questions that are as follows; how do the formal characteristics of the article influence the sharing performance, how do news factors influence the sharing performance, and how do competing with other news articles and being the first to report on the subject influence the sharing performance?
The researchers manually coded several variables and also used a system to conduct an automatic contact analysis. Dependent variables and independent variables were both coded automatically, whereas formal characteristics (such as length, visualizations or embedded content, and humor) and news factors were coded manually.
The researchers found that after 7 days of analyzing the reach of each article, the influences of formal characteristics between Twitter and Facebook not only have a significant impact on the sharing performance, but they vary significantly between the two sites. Certain news factors (such as geographical proximity) had a moderate influence on the sharing performance of the articles. Finally, being the first to report on an issue significantly increased the sharing performance.
Sharing news has become more and more common on social networks and this study explores how and where the sharing occurs, as well as how successful it is depending on a number of factors.
Karnowski, V., Leiner, D. J., Kümpel, A. S., & Leonhard, L. (2021). Worth to Share? How Content Characteristics and Article Competitiveness Influence News Sharing on Social Network Sites. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 98(1), 60-82. doi:10.1177/1077699020988299