We’re in a new age of realtime information. Earthquakes, the San Diego fires, the shootings in Mumbai, the situation in Iran, and even Michael Jackson’s death. The realtime web beat the mainstream media easily to each of these stories.
But, will this disparity increase going forward?
In 2008, the terrorist attacks in Mumbai were communicated more quickly on Social Media sites than on the TV screen.
Few weeks ago, it took CNN 45 minutes to give to its viewers the same level of information about the car crash of the famous golf player.
30 years ago, our only source of information was TV, newspapers and magazines, all controlled by big organizations and governments. In the 90s, Internet arrived enabling faster flow of information. But the real revolution came from social media ‘blogs‘. Information wasn’t controlled any more by big organizations. Everyone could start a blog and share his opinion about anything, with others having the power to comment, to talk back.
But, the question that most people ask themselves: Why this global Social Media phenomenon will be (is) changing our world, although there are cultural differences around the globe?
Clay Shirky explains it well in this video: “How social media can make history” at Ted.com (it’s 17 minutes).
MG Siegler goes even further, asserting that the Internet and Twitter are better news and information delivery channels than traditional TV, radio and print – and will ultimately lead to their demise (This is Why the Internet (and Twitter) Wins):
Of course, there is something to be said for these outlets independently verifying the news, but the the fact of the matter is that there was a report out there, filed by the police department and BNOnews was able to get it and send it out via Twitter much, much faster than any traditional news source.
Information wants to be free, and the web, with services like Twitter, provides the easiest way for that to happen.
What about ethics and accuracy? When talking about social media, people always question the validity of information.
In their recent study, ‘An Analysis of the Increasing Impact of Social and Other New Media on Public Relations Practice’, Donald Wright and Michelle Hinson from the Institute for Public Relations got the following responses to the question:
“Do you agree or disagree that social media (including blogs) . . .”
Social Media and Traditional Media seem not to be in conflict with each other. For Clay Shirky, accountability seems to be the urgent point.
Last month, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, have been picking on Google for destroying their business, blaming the Google for giving away their content for free and stealing their ad revenue. Eric Schmidt has responded with a column in The Wall Street Journal, saying:
Google is a great source of promotion. We send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion extra visits from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue – for free. In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story. If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper’s Web site. (The exception are stories we host through a licensing agreement with news services.) And if they wish, publishers can remove their content from our search index, or from Google News.
The potential of social media (such as Twitter) is transforming the way we communicate in our respective countries. Information are exchanged within seconds. But I don’t think it will replace YET traditional media, because important vs popular news will only be considered credible once traditional media have confirmed it (and indeed, Google and Twitter could help to drive readers hungry for information to news sites).
Predictions for 2010?
FOLIO: has reached out to a wide selection of magazine/media industry professionals—publishers, editors, chief executives, dealmakers, bloggers—to channel their inner Nostradamus and work up some predictions. I’ve selected two. One from Bob Cohn, editorial director, theAtlantic.com and the other from Amanda Ernst from FBNY.
Amanda Ernest, from FBNY writes:
Media companies will also be looking to partner up in order to pool resources and keep costs low. Non-profit journalism organizations and Web sites that rely on citizen journalism are a good place for traditional media to look for partners.
Bob Cohn, editorial director, theAtlantic.com, writes:
Two indisputable facts: editors are constrained for resources, while the stories we’re facing-war, recession, terrorism, climate change-are not easy or cheap to cover. I predict that one way magazines will try to resolve this problem is through more frequent collaboration. Journalists have been trained to compete, not cooperate. But pooling resources, whether it’s money or reporters or technology, can make good sense for outfits that want to remain ambitious in lean times. We all still want to beat the other guy, but sometimes the best way to unpack a complex and multi-dimensional story may be to forge ties with like-minded colleagues.
Other related posts:
What will the next newsroom looks like? (by Peter Bihr)
Twitter and the Internet vs Traditional News Media (by Tom Watson)
Why Social Media is Killing TV News? (by Mike Elgan)
Real time, real discussion, real reporting: choose two (by Kevin Coldeway)
115 Magazine and Media Predictions for 2010 (by Jason Fell of foliomag.com)