Traditional Media is Social Media


Traditional media has become so technology savvy that robots now do all the reporting.

The idea that there’s traditional media and social media and that a gigantic wall not unlike the Great Wall of China divides them is one of the most persistent myths in communications and marketing.

It is, of course, completely untrue.

This may have been the case back in 2005, but it isn’t the case in 2010.

Traditional media – and by traditional I mean newspapers, magazines, radio, and television – is social media.  There are few media outlets in existence that don’t have a web site filled with social media components – from Twitter feeds to commenting and sharing.  Most traditional media sites are chock full of multimedia elements – videos, photographs, charts, audio, and even slide shows.

Readers can share content via email or through multiple social bookmarking sites.  They can comment on stories.  They can watch videos.  They can download audio files.  They can rate or rank stories.

Despite cries to contrary, traditional media outlets now get it.  They are as social – if not more so – than many social media outlets.

Look no further than BusinessWeek Online as an example.  BusinessWeek Online offers the following:

  • Blog Network: BusinessWeek (and now Bloomberg) reporters and editors are blogging daily on dozens of different topics.  Blogs in the network include The Auto Beat (all about car manufacturing),   Bye of the Apple (all about the technology and gadgets coming out of Apple), and Traveler’s Check (all about news and trends in the travel industry) and many other topics from business in Asia to politics.
  • The Debate Room: A forum that looks at the pros and cons of different issues from CEO compensation to green energy.  Readers can weigh in on the issues via comments.  They can also suggest ideas for different debates.  The idea behind The Debate Room is to provide an online forum where readers can discuss red-hot issues.
  • Podcast Platform: Going on a long business trip and want to download stories on your smart phone?  BusinessWeek offers all kinds of interesting content via its podcast platform.  Content includes business round-ups and audio versions of cover stories.
  • Video Channel: BusinessWeek provides all kinds of video content that can be accessed right from the first page.  Interviews and stories.  Analysis and trends.  The videos can also be downloaded onto smart phones.
  • Reader Forums: BusinessWeek allows readers to have a real voice at it’s “What’s Your New Story Idea” – new take on the idea of a reader’s forum.  Here readers can talk directly with editors by pitching stories.  One pitch a week gets selected and written about.
  • Interactive Galleries: The magazine also has a robust feature that visually tells stories through slideshows.  Using photographs and informative captions, the slideshows are an interactive way to narrate a story – everything from how to survive a recession to to chef’s showing how to open a restaurant.

All of these features can be shared and commented on.

BusinessWeek is no different than most magazines and newspapers.  All of them are engaged more with readers – they are blogging, using multimedia and allowing readers to share and comment.

The fact is: all media is now social media.

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2 Responses to “Traditional Media is Social Media”

  1. Nice post– I would add this– that the best examples are local press. Because they are geographically close to their readers and have relationships with many community members, I would argue that the local media (and I don’t mean Boston Globe, but drill down to neighborhood/city “papers”) are best equipped to handle social media because they are already “community.” The only thing that needs to catch up is more of the community members- and municipal leaders- getting on their online and social channels. Slowly that is happening.

  2. Hi Doug:
    Agreed – many local newspapers are doing excellent work with hyperlocal reporting and moving their communities online. But two things that holds back the smaller papers are budget and time.

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