Social Media Revolution - Taking The Internet By Storm

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One of the definitions of revolution is a sudden, sweeping change in something. The American Revolution is but one example. The 1960s counterculture revolution of much of Europe and the U. S. is another example. The social media revolution, currently, is the most recent and widespread.

Social media has changed people into producers of content instead consumers of content. In other words, the tail wags the dog. The way information and knowledge are spread has radically changed. The norm used to be broadcast media monologues, which is where one person disseminates information to the masses. Such familiar modes of this type are TV news broadcasts and newspaper articles.

However, these norms are fast becoming forced to coexist with what the revolution is bringing. Known as social media dialogues, this is where many people disseminate said information to the people. Everyone becomes recipient and disseminator. This is why they're referred to as content producers.

There are several common forms of this phenomenon. One well-known form of social media includes concepts or slogans made to be so easily remembered that it galvanizes others to repeat them often. Print media created to be redistributed to the masses is another form. Dissemination from electronic media such as Internet and mobile phones with advanced search capability is a third. Another example is grass-roots direct action dissemination, such as public demonstrations, public rallies, and public speaking.

There are some major differences between social media and mass media, also commonly referred to as traditional, broadcast, or industrial media. First, social media is relatively inexpensive and more accessible. Broadcast media usually requires more resources in order to share information. Second, traditional media production usually requires special training, whereas social media usually does not. In essence, the latter can be operated by anyone or adapted to be easily used by anyone.

Third, relevancy and response time have been impacted. Whereas the time lag in industrial media often is hours or even days, in social media, it is instant. It should be noted, however, that as industrial media adapts more and more social media tendencies, which soon may not be such a difference anymore.

Fourth, the idea of permanence is very different between the two. In mass media, once an article is printed and disseminated, it cannot be altered. Retractions, corrections, and apologies might be necessary, but the article cannot be changed. However, in social media, changes can be made instantly.

Another interesting note is how the two forms of media are similar. Both social and traditional media reach a small or worldwide audience. A blog post or other such type of social media communication can reach no one or everyone. A television news broadcast can reach the exact same range of people.

The future direction of social media and traditional media is, of course, unknown. One hypothesis is the hybridization of the two. In this scenario, what is known as community media is the use of the frameworks of both traditional and social media. In fact, this hybrid is already being commonly used in some corners.

 

Regardless of what the future holds, the social media tool revolution is not whimsical. It is here to stay, though the direction is still unclear. Will hybridization continue to evolve? Will traditional media as we know it survive? Will the social media site evolve so much that it consumes both the traditional and the hybrid? Stay tuned to your local media outlets.

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