Twitter Will Not Replace Traditional Media

I continue to see blog posts and blog comments, twitter posts, and even news stories claiming Twitter, podcasts, and online-based publications will replace newspapers, even mainstay newscasts. Although I see the usefulness, timeliness, and importance of New Media and social media, I don’t believe they will replace what we’ve had for decades, and certainly not any time soon.

I have seen how newscasts on CBC and CNN have integrated social media websites, such as Twitter and Facebook, into their broadcasts, effectively getting instant feedback on what they’re covering, and even pulling questions to ask a guest. Those TV and radio stations that are technology-savvy are posting their top stories via RSS and Twitter that viewers can follow, and creating fan pages on Facebook to communicate with their viewers. Websites are doing much the same.

As each week goes by, I am hearing another story of a company that is restructuring, forcing layoffs, and consolidating or cutting costs in any way they can during the current economic recession. It makes sense, and given how costly it is to produce a daily or even weekly newspaper, publishing stories either completely or partially online, sometimes in addition to the physical paper, it’s a smart move. I can certainly see some publications going completely online, but to say that all will, or even that physical newspapers will stop being published at all, at least any time soon, is ridiculous.

As for television, that’s one thing we’re already seeing migrate online. Less viewers are tuning in to good ‘ol cable TV, and preferring to view or download their favourite shows and movies on the internet, especially given how much cheaper and less time consuming it is. Most websites offer pay-per-download, which eliminates the concept of “bundles” completely. Broadcasters are slowly putting their content online, and eventually I believe there will be no more cable TV or Satellite, as the content will be available completely online, though there are methods to bring the content to your TV. Simply put, people are tired of planning their lives around their favourite shows.

I think that Social Media and New Media are great tools in addition to what already exists, as it creates instant communication and conversation that could have otherwise not existed. To clarify, I think traditional newspapers and newscasts are changing to adopt Social Media. Those that don’t take advantage of new ways of communicating with their customers, viewers, or audience, will not last. This is especially given the number of people who use technology, especially those who are growing up with it in their daily lives, will see companies that don’t as irrelevant and lazy.

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