How Social Media has penetrated traditional media

Social networking has an increasing presence in all forms of traditional media.

Just turn your Television on to any given News channel during a breaking news story and you’ll be greeted with information from Facebook and Twitter at least every hour.

Back in 2001, during the attacks on the Twin Towers, the only way to get information on the story was to send a journalist out to New York to correspond from the scene of the wreckage or rely on American news houses for information and developments if you were overseas. Less than a decade later, social networking changed the entire way traditional forms of media are being consumed.

The U.S. Presidential election in 2008 was perhaps the first time we saw a boom in how social networking could be used to spread information on a global scale.

Sites like Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with talks of Obama, Clinton and Palin. We also saw Gen-Y get into the political action, further adding to the power of social networking sites to reach a diverse audience successfully.  Currently, Facebook Statistics claim that more than 30 billion pieces of information (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) are shared across the globe each month.

Newspapers have been the most influenced by social media. An increase in citizen journalism has meant a total restructure of traditional news models, prompting most news agencies to work around and in conjunction with social networking.  newspaper social mediaAccording to a Mashable article by Woody Lewis, the number way in which newspapers are attempting to cross over to social networking is through Twitter headline feeds followed by attempts to monetize user-generated content and personalizing delivery.  In Australia, the ABC has attempted to get on the social media bandwagon by creating ABC Pool, a site that encourages citizen journalism in individual and collaborative efforts.

Television (outside of news) has been the second most impacted by social networking, with Internet video providing a convenient way for most to catch up on their favorite TV shows without the hassle leaving their desks or dealing with ads every ten minutes or so.  Most recently, Facebook, in collaboration with the BBC, has also started providing video content with shows such as Dr.Who now available to watch on the site.  Furthermore, social networking has encouraged people to share their thoughts online relating to their favorite TV shows and movies, bringing television online opposed to its isolation in living rooms for so many years.

Not surprising, Radio has been least affected by the rise in Social Media. Having already been threatened by Television, Radio has already counted its losses and adapted to a world where Radio isn’t king.  Its only real threat over the last few years has been the rise of Mp3 players (and P2P sharing of music).  Perhaps the quantity of radio stations around the world (especially in first world countries) may decrease as the years go by but the entire demise of radio is far far away. As long as car manufacturers include radios in their products, people will tune in. After all, as my friend Aimee would tell you, why not take advantage of something you’re being given for free.

Overall, its fair to say that at the moment Social Media is king.  Whether or not it will totally replace traditional forms of media is to be seen.  But for not at least, we can look back and say that the Buggles were wrong, Video didn’t kill the Radio Star.  She just knocked him off the number one spot.

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