Traditional vs. social media? It’s all just ‘media’ now

Some social media purists say the world has flipped from a top-down, traditional media driven landscape to a bottom-up, social driven landscape. I’m not sure...

Some social media purists say the world has flipped from a top-down, traditional media driven landscape to a bottom-up, social driven landscape. I’m not sure that’s right.

People often tweet and blog about what they encounter in the mass media, and the mass media often reports on memes that first evolved in the social media world. It’s probably more accurate to think in terms of a symbiotic continuum - the modern communications landscape ranges from real-time microblogs and status updates to long-lead print and broadcast outlets. While the platforms remain relatively distinct, the content (and links) regularly ricochet between entities in a mix of original reporting, sharing, and conversation.

Grassroots-up tends more toward short, real-time communications, where top-down can take days or months. Mainstream press delivers mass audience, while individuals might reach a small group of highly interested others. A Twitter post can trigger broadcast coverage of a breaking issue while an article in a daily regional newspaper may spread worldwide through blogs and social networks. And then there’s search, which lives forever. So the distinctions might not be that important anymore. Offline, online, traditional, social – it’s all just media now. Embrace. Evolve.

Andy Getsey, cofounder, Atomic PR

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