The Growing Influence of Social Media as Formal Media

The active social interaction and accessibility of social media has drawn a growing attention which has revolutionized how information is stored, published, searched and consumed.

Social media is about networking and communicating through text, video and pictures amongst others on sites such as Twitter and Facebook to mention a few. These sites have become influential as effective communication tools connecting the world without boundaries. Google and Microsoft also began integrating Twitter messages into their respective search engines creating easier access.

Gone are the days of waiting for morning papers or the evening news on television. The consumption of information today is not the same as it was in the pre-internet days when information was disseminated through TV and radio. A growing number of readers, viewers and listeners are going online for their news. Television, newspapers and radio still have not lost their relevance but there is a growing competition from interactive online media.

The massive platform plays an ever-growing role in how most media organizations and brands engage with potential site visitors and drive traffic to their content. Facebook has been experimenting with category-specific versions for its news feed that take all-in-one feed and organize them into own interest-specific feeds. This shows the regular Facebook news platform as well as new tabs for travel, style and headlines feeds and an option to search for other tab categories.

Traditional offline media such as print requires a process with the printing press and has a limited circulation while broadcasting through radio and television rely on expensive equipment to transmit signals to reach a limited audience. On the other hand, social media creates a limitless access platform that is global.

“Although popularity of social media presents numerous opportunities, there are also potential drawbacks. While social media networks bring out viable leads, there is also a lot of hearsays going on and this only disseminates misleading information. Alexander Burtenshaw, Country Manager of Jovago Ethiopia said. “However, its influence as a communication tool will continue to give social media the attention it deserves.”

Certainly the face of the media is changing with strong competition between formal and social media, with the latter generating heavy traffic which allows readers to engage and have their say on the particular news.

By Eden Sahle
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