Home > Uncategorized > Social Media Supplements, Not Replaces, Traditional Media

Social Media Supplements, Not Replaces, Traditional Media

Note: This post originally appeared on my personal blog.

I participated in a Twitter chat last week hosted by @fabian_boehm under the hashtag #socialcan where we talked about some general social media topics, including how honestly people read blog posts before posting their opinions about them. One of the questions posed was “Do you think social media will ever replace traditional news?” I responded that I didn’t think traditional media would ever go away and that social media would just enhance the news experience. Unfortunately in 140 characters it’s hard to get your whole point across, so I thought I might write this post and elaborate a bit.

When Captain “Sully” Sullenberger expertly landed a plane in the Hudson River and evacuated every passenger safely, it was spread around Twitter before any traditional news team even caught wind of it, just because one person near the crash happened to have a smartphone with them and took pictures and tweeted about it instantly. This event caused some people to declare that social media was on it’s way to replacing traditional news sources, but I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

That mustache alone accounted for half of the saved lives.

Let me start by saying I wholeheartedly believe newspapers are on their way out. Not the organizations themselves, but the notion of printing news on physical paper. That business is a sinking ship, with advertisers pulling out at a rapid rate and daily/weekly papers closing down every day. Kick and scream all they want, these newspapers have to come to grips with the fact that news is freely available on the internet and always will be. On top of that, online news can be updated as stories unfold and aren’t a day old, like their dead tree counterparts. Paywalls for online news sites may seem like a good idea, but as the New York Times recently found out, there are always going to be ways around those.

Having said all that, we will always need traditional media sources for reliable information. The way I get my news is either by perusing news sites like CNN, The Guardian or any other number of free resources. When I see news stories on my Twitter feed I click through to them and if they’re behind a paywall, chances are there’s a free version of it on another publication. If a blog reports on a story, I take it with a grain of salt and try to get the story from a reliable news source. We can’t forget that journalists are trained and paid to objectively report news (except for a few of those Fox News types) and that should always be our #1 source for credible information. Blogs are for opinions. Social media will never replace traditional news because they’re two separate entities that can work in perfect harmony. Using these tools in the correct way will turn you into an all-knowing current events rock star, just like you always wanted to be.

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