The Theory

We all know traditional news outlets are fading. Sadly the numbers don’t lie.

But I was talking to Andrew Tobias, a fellow journalist, the other day and he propsed a thoery that I 100 percent agree with. The thesis is that social media relies on traditional news media for the information needed to sustain conversation.

As much as the industry is worshiping social media’s feet, we think it’s overrated. If traditional news outlets fell off the face of the earth today. What would happen to social media? How would the community react.

In my opinion, social media would die as we know it. I didn’t say die forever, but change drastically. The bloggers and tweeters would have to do the reporting and dig for the news themselves. This is something they leave to the news outlets now. How would the world get its news?

Eventually the social media community would catch back up and regain strength enough to produce its own content but that would be a slow process.

Part of the hype of social media is that it is the consumers producing the content. This is incorrect. It is the consumers comentating on the messages that traditional style journalists produce. The consumers just virally spread the message, in turn doing the journalists a huge favor.

I really like this argument.

What do you think?

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One response to “The Theory

  1. PLEASE be skeptical about social media, but be able to leverage it as a journalist/PR person, too. Never forget the core values don’t change even as we are getting excited about a new, shiny innovation. See, for example, this good advice for journalists using social media for reporting. http://ryansholin.com/2009/06/29/five-keys-to-authenticity/
    It is assuring that “being honest” and “being human” still matter; it is only sad that journalists need to be reminded of this!

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