Social Media vs. Traditional Media


Let me start off by examining the very entity, ‘Media’. With growing technology, ‘Media’ ceases to remain a single, definable entity. To a layman, any medium used to express thoughts contributes to the world of media. This would then include the usuals: T.V. , radio, newspapers, magazines, and other relatively new components: Digital media (videos, documentaries), dance, music, etc.

So then, we differentiate between the ‘Traditional media’ and the ‘Social media’. As the name suggests, Traditional media has been used for long, ‘traditionally’ in the form of advertising, marketing or just spreading awareness. It includes TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, and movies. The rest of the forms of expression then come under Social media. This includes your digital space, documentaries, social networking sites, et al.

So, why the differentiation? Primarily because of the different audience they cater to. Contrary to popular belief, social media and traditional media do not actually; have many differences in the type of content they display. Its just the way they display one thing in two different ways they deal with the same element.

Take terrorism for instance, traditional media would have maximum written content; or have mainly experts, reporters and other usual media persons relaying the information. Social media, on the other hand, will have a larger repository: documentaries, posts, blogs, E-newspapers and so on. These will have more interactive content: videos, pictures, etc. This different being attributed not only to the different audiences they cater to, but also the type and amount of space available.

Traditional media, however, is rapidly dying out. Traditional media should cope up with the virility of the Social media to remain a dominant media force. Till now, it has remained so because of its historical and cultural significance. One way for it survive: merge with the digital media, like E-newspapers, for instance. However, taking India in particular, the majority of the population does not have access to digital media. Further, for a part of the population that does have access to it, prefers the traditional media, simply because it has become a part of a daily ‘ritual’ they follow. Some still savor the feel of pages turning in your hand or the crunch of a freshly printed newspaper.

Social media is volatile compared to traditional media. This has both pros and cons. On one side, it provides more opportunity for new information, whereas on the other, it quickly takes out of notice other important information.

One thing is for sure, social media and traditional media are in a constant war for preference. Traditional media has to evolve to cope up. But then I question, if something evolves, changes, does it not become something else in itself? If traditional media ‘evolves’ does it not stop being traditional media?

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