Social Media vs. Mass Media

Last month, The Future Buzz blogger, Adam Singer, wrote about the future of social networking and the death of print in his blog titled, Mass Media vs. Niche Media. He brought forth conversation about how specific tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, are not what is replacing the previous generation of media, but the internet as a whole is the source for change in the world of public relations. Singer got the ideas for his blog through another blog written by Mitch Joel called, “When Love Comes to Town, A Mass Media Love Story.” Mitch asks readers to imagine a world without Mass Media and only being able to retrieve information through newsfeeds and posts on mediums such as Facebook and Twitter. He challenges readers to answer whether or not this is the best way to get a full perspective on everything.

Both blogs really made me think about how much social networking has changed in the past few years. I began to think about a time before I had my own Myspace, Facbook, Twitter, text messaging updates and many more networking outlets and how I gathered information or communicated thoughts and ideas. As a Public Relations major, I see the need for all social media networks that transfer information from one person/business to another.

With all the buzz about social networking it is hard to believe that there was a time when people relied solely on print to pass ideas and communicate with others. With technology advances and the vast majority of people relying on social media, we tend to forget about the traditional ways of passing information and keeping the public informed. We tend to forget that Mass Media cannot be fully replaced by social media. The two complement each other.

I think it is safe to say that Mass Media and Social Media are different but both play a huge role in the PR world. As Joel states, we need to be informed of things from products and services to events and opportunities. Social Media enables connections to people and places that were not possible with Mass Media alone. Ads you see in a newspaper or information found on a brochure may become useful to you down the road. I still find it easier to have a hard copy as oppose to a copy only online. With these mediums working together, communicating is made easier.

What are your opinions on Mass Media vs. Social Media?

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9 Responses to Social Media vs. Mass Media

  1. sdoyle says:

    I really liked the comment below:
    “Mitch asks readers to imagine a world without Mass Media and only being able to retrieve information through newsfeeds and posts on mediums such as Facebook and Twitter.”
    This would make the world a complete tabloid with no true news outlets to confirm or deny a story. If it weren’t for true news outlets I would still think that Jeff Goldblum died the same day Michal Jackson and Farrah Fawcett did. I would still think that Justin Timberlake broke up with his girlfriend, and would probably think many of my friends were suicidal because of the frequency of the FML posts I see. Social networks are a great place for social matters, catching up with friends and getting their news, not for real news. Relying on social networks for real news is like relying on gossip. True news outlets are required to make all the hearsay fact or fiction and we will always need that. While I am a Facebook addict I do believe in true news outlets.

  2. edean says:

    Interesting that you brought this up, we just had this conversation in my business and future of Journalism class last week. I think there is a very large, gray area among our generation who are starting to blur the lines of credibility. Since social media has been known to break the news faster and introduce it to more people, it is the job of trusted news media outlets to supply a fact-driven, thorough version of the story. I believe major news outlets could become more of a magazine format because of this alone. We hear things on Facebook and Twitter that starts the “buzz” but I believe there will always be a need to confirm things among trusted sources.

  3. ecain says:

    I think that it is safe to say that the daily newspaper is slowly dying entity, however I do not think that it will completely perish any time soon. On the other hand, social media is undoubtedly on the rise. 6 years ago the only account I had was on AIM, now I have 3 email addresses, a Twitter account, a Delicious account, a WordPress blog, a Facebook account and a MySpace account. While the newspaper and traditional media outlets still play a large role in the media world, most newspapers now have websites to compliment them and provide a place for breaking news. These sites also quite often have a higher readership then the physical daily newspaper. Nonetheless, I honestly cannot imagine a world with out social media; there have been many events that I have been first informed of on Twitter. For example, the deaths of DJ AM and Michael Jackson both came up on my Twitter feed before I saw any coverage on the television or any other website. It is amazing to me that we can inform each other of current events through 140 word micro-blogs. However, while Twitter can be used as a way to stay informed on current events, it would take 10 tweets to get the full story. Getting news in the form of news feeds and status updates would get old very quickly. That is why I definitely agree that the mass media and social media need each other in order to thrive and keep the public informed.

  4. astrazzara says:

    I think mass media and social media do complement each other. I don’t get my news from all one place—in fact I gather information from a multitude of organizations. Depending on what I’m looking for, my searches differ. I don’t use Facebook for news but to keep in contact with friends. I use Twitter for a more professional platform– trends, interesting stories and other things I enjoy (cooking, fashion travel and even used to keep in contact with the PR pros that I follow). Although, I would say I use social media on a daily basis I still try to watch the 10 p.m. news. Whenever there’s a breaking story on Twitter, the first place I go is CNN and other news outlets. For example, when TMZ broke the Michael Jackson story I wasn’t sure if it was really true or not, so I kept checking CNN because I still think of mass media has being more factual as social media. Although, as it turns out the story was true and social media is standing its ground next to mass media.

  5. glindsay says:

    This is a great point as the journalism industry is currently facing a need for a huge shift. As I read the post I found myself agreeing that lately I have been getting my news FIRST from social media sources (like the balloon boy today I heard about first as a Facebook status update!). However, when I want to learn more about a particular breaking news story, I go to AZCentral, GoogleNews or another news site to find the actual story. I think this is a valid point, and one journalism professionals will need to be taking into consideration especially in the next 5-10 years.

  6. ndapplegate says:

    sdoyle: I agree with that without the mass media everything would turn into a tabloid. I liked your comment, “Relying on social networks for real news is like relying on gossip.” I totally agree with you that it would make everything chaotic and their would not be any “proof” to what we read.

    edean: I think that you make a valid point by saying our generation is blurring the lines between what is credible and what is not, but is that really our fault? I feel that we are being introduced to the idea of social media without fully grasping what mass media is and the importance of it.

    ecain: I agree that print is slowly dying but it would be completely gone for a while. It funny to think that just six years ago we barely even had the internet figured out and now we have all of these social networks that are constantly being introduced. As soon as a new network hits the internet it becomes the latest fab that everyone wants and we become so addicted that we forget about hard news.

    astrazzara: It is a very good idea to not get all of your news from one location, especially considering the vast variety of different news outlets. I feel that I am the same way, I tend to only turn to mass media when I read a tabloid that grabs my attention and I want to check the facts on it.

    glindsay: It is funny that you mention the balloon boy because I was watching Knocked UP on E! today and on the bottom was a celeb Twitter ticker and every comment posted was talking about the balloon boy. As soon as I saw that I went online and there was a breaking news story on Fox that the balloon boy was found. If it weren’t for the tweet I probably would still not know anything about the situation.

  7. bihrig says:

    Mass media and social media definitely complement each other. Many people might get their news from social media sites but where did the concrete information come from? Personally, I hear most “news” from social media sites, but until I confirm through a credible site consider I consider it a rumor. Social media sites don’t have as much credibility as credited news outlets. So until people feel they can completely trust what they here through social media sites, I believe they will still look to mass media. They complement each other because news reaches people faster through social media but mass media is there to provide a full story.
    I am not even sure most social media sites can ever be considered credible because people can write whatever they want. While newspapers might be dying I don’t think they will be completely eliminated. I do think the traditional hard copy of a newspaper might disappear in the next decade but that is because people have the Internet.

  8. sclarke says:

    After reading this post, I began to think about “back in the day” when we didn’t have Myspace, Facebook or Twitter. Did I even get on the internet? Times are changing so rapidly that it is hard to remember. I agree with Britney in the reasoning that social media is not as credible of a news source as news sites. Would I believe something posted on facebook or in a blog, rather then lets say…CNN? Just a thought. Social media is definitely the essence of PR today. I even read a blog saying twitter was eventually going to be the new “PR tactic.”

  9. ndapplegate says:

    bihrig: I think that you have a valid point about news you get from social media being “rumors” and the information you receive from the mass media is the whole story. You stated that “until people fully trust what they hear through social media sites, they will still look to mass media.” Do you think that our society will ever completely trust social media sites?

    sclarke: You make a valid point about getting your news from CNN rather than facebook, twitter or a blog but isn’t CNN on twitter so does that make it a social media network as well? Does it depend on whether or not you get your CNN news from a twitter feed vs. Wolf in The Situation Room to make it a credible source?

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