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Can Social Media Replace Traditional Media?

How social media compares with the modern print periodical

By Patti Hill, Penman PR

Wikipedia says social media “are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information amongst humans.” They are manifested in tweets, followers, blog posts, friends, videos, etc. and some social experts believe they are every bit as credible as quotes or mentions in elite or industry news outlets.

They are sadly mistaken.

People communicate and publish whatever they like whenever they like on social sites. News can be posted faster than traditional news outlets, but because boring doesn’t work on social media, news is glorified and “gory-fied”, which puts credibility in question. From videos to 140-character tweets, opinions and content run amuck, creating crowded arenas where verification of resources or content can be challenging. According to an experimental study from the Media Insight Project, trust is now determined less by who creates the news than by who shares it.

Social content also has limited lifespans. YouTube videos last about 20 or so days; a LinkedIn post is good for 24 hours; Facebook visibility lasts about five hours; and a tweet is relevant for roughly 18 minutes. There is so much content being posted on these channels, it’s a fight to keep up. In order to get more interest, more posts have to be made.

The data deepens.

Social media takes time and requires thought before posting. When not fully vetted, corporate failures and blunders can spread as quickly as a bad rash.

Traditional media, on the other hand, continues to be consumed regularly by millions. It’s said the people who still read newspapers are among the wealthiest people in the United States. Warren Buffett, for example, reads five a day.

Over the last five to 10 years, people have been talking about how traditional media will become obsolete, but it hasn’t happened—and traditional media still play a vital role in modern journalism.

In fact, traditional outlets are the foundation for any business-to-business public relations campaign. 

The glaring difference between print and social media is that the former relies on journalistic reporting and the latter is usually narrative reporting. Social media posters rarely delve deeply into reporting; rather, they rely on user-generated content. When everyone is a self-proclaimed journalist and interactions are immediate, trust and credibility are eroded. Print periodicals rely on subject matter experts, trained in journalistic techniques.

Because of their readership, credibility and authority, print periodicals have the unique ability to generate a surge of interest in companies, products, services and industry segments.

Traditional trade publications national newspapers, network and cable TV and radio news have an increasingly important place in today’s business environments—particularly with traditional news outlets continually transiting and transforming.

By leveraging digital technology the modern business-to-business periodical can target an increasingly focused audience with increasingly relevant editorial, providing advertisers with a credible, authoritative and effective communications medium.

PATTI HILL, an irreverent, entrepreneurial executive with an appetite for shaking things up, founded Penman PR three weeks after 9/11. She is simultaneously intense and laid-back, which is a refreshing change from public relations’ traditionally conservative culture. Her passion for complex technologies has resulted in the firm’s representation of some very interesting clients and her penchant for disruption creates a unique space for Penman PR’s style of executive representation in ways no PR antecedent could.

For additional information about Penman PR:

Any questions, please contact:

Peter Philips
Philips Publishing Group

4257 24th Avenue W
Seattle, WA 98199
Ph:    206. 284.8285
Fax:   206.284.0391