Recommend, Tweet, Share: User-Distributed Content (UDC) and the Convergence of News Media and Social Networks

  • Mikko VilliEmail author
  • Janne Matikainen
  • Irina Khaldarova
Part of the Media Business and Innovation book series (MEDIA)


The paper explores how the participatory audience disseminates the online content produced by news media. Here, user-distributed content (UDC) acts as a conceptual framework. The concept of UDC refers to the process by which the mass media converge with the online social networks through the intentional use of social media features and platforms in order to expand the number of content delivery channels and maximize visibility online. The focus of the paper is both on the news media’s internal use (social plugins) and external use (Facebook pages, Twitter accounts) of social media tools and platforms in content distribution. The study draws on the examination of fifteen news media in seven countries. The data consists of almost 50,000 news items and the communicative activity surrounding them. The three main findings of the study are: (1) the audience shares online news content actively by using social plugins, (2) the activity of the news media in social media (especially on Facebook and Twitter) impacts the activity of the audience, and (3) the news media are more active on Twitter than on Facebook, despite the fact that the audience is often more active on Facebook. The study suggests that practices related to UDC should be more strongly incorporated into the management strategies of news media as peer-communication among the audience has a growing significance in the consumption and distribution of online media content.


Social Medium Media Content Online Social Network News Medium News Item 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research has received funding from the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. We would also like to thank Vladimir Grigor for his help in the programming of data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikko Villi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Janne Matikainen
    • 1
  • Irina Khaldarova
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Research, Media and Communication StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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