The lyrics ‘impending doom, it must be true’ as sung by The Killers seems to be the general approach taken by mainstream media in response to the explosion of Social Media popularity. Suddenly many media outlets are battling to figure out just where their competitive advantage lies.
This morning on television a Sky News reporter based somewhere in the Middle-East was bemoaning the apparent fact that the Israeli military had dissalowed him to enter Gaza to report. Unfortunately what followed was a deluge of anti-Israeli retoric (should the media ‘punish’ any party whether Israeli, Gazan, Palestinian or anyone else with negative media publicity just because they don’t get what they want?).
It is understandable just why this reporter was so angry. This reporter had realised that his competitive edge was lost. He no longer had immdeiate access to events as they unfolded. News can no longer wait, it has to be reported and published as it happens (we saw this recently with the Mumbai terrorist attacks). While this particular reporter was ranting about his restricted access, many people in Gaza and Israel were reporting via Blogs and other Social Media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Mixx, WordPress.com etc.) just what was happening. Mainstream media is really battling to find out what it offers as opposed to Social Media which is usually content published by ordinary, everyday people.
Many media outlets have engaged and experimented with Social Media. Some have been very successful (e.g. News Corp. engages users very successfully with Blogging) whereas most media have battled to engage the public with Social Media. Mainstream media still mostly views Social Media as a threat rather than an opportunity. Perhaps it is time for mainstream media to realise that Social Media is growing by the day and that the opportunities to become a leader in a still new medium are there for the taking.
As for our reporter having his rant…..Palestinian and Gazan supporters were very quick to take advantage of the Social Media opportunities afforded to them and have been successfully putting across their side of events for years. The Israeli Defence Force have now also realised that the Social Media is where the biggest benefits are to be had and so have actively engaged the likes of YouTube and Twitter. Our ranting reporter can keep having a tantrum or he can take the opportunity and embrace Social Media.