Thursday, January 27, 2011

Social Media vs Traditional Media?

I read an interesting article on Media Post today about how social media has been playing a role in the on-going Egypt protests.

I enjoyed the article and the stand the writer took that social media can in fact make people stand up and do something...that it can cause change...

What I found more interesting though was the discussion taking place in the comments of the article.

Some argued that social media (while important) isn't the major player in the world of media.  Traditional media (television, radio, newspapers) is still bigger and farther reaching.  

I started thinking about the recent phenomenon of Ted Williams.

Would the “Homeless man with the Golden Voice” situation have turned out the way it did without traditional media picking up the story and putting him on every television show out there?

Sure, it started on social media.

A YouTube video of a homeless man with a radio-perfect voice goes viral and the next thing we know said homeless man is on Dr. Phil.

If that story remained only on social media…how far would it have gone?

Would all of these major companies like Kraft and a few sports teams have offered him a job if they only saw the story break and unfold on social media? 

And likewise, if the story broke and unfolded via traditional media....would it have produced as many opportunities for Ted Williams?

I think social and traditional media have a symbiotic relationship.  They need one another, whether they like it or not.

Sure, traditional media is still king....but traditional media looks to social media to highlight what events, stories and causes are important to us, the users.

Yes, it was a traditional media outlet (a newspaper) that found Ted Williams and shot a video of him and put it online.  

But it was social media that made Ted Williams a sensation and got the attention of bigger traditional media outlets. 

Here’s a great time-line I found produced by New York Daily News on the Ted Williams phenomenon:

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