Social media vs. Mainstream media

Introduction

Unlike the newspapers we read or the television we watch, social media like twitter, instagram, facebook, etc connects us instantly to other people who are interested in the same topic of discussions. Whereas mainstream media can be a little one-sided sometimes, social media gives everyone a fair chance to discuss their opinions, which can be a little overwhelming.

Every time an incident happens, before the government can respond or take any action, the media immediately jumps in, asking for opinions of people who are politically and socially not experts. There are two parts of it,  first is the anger which is justified, but then the narrative evolves into a call for a war, which turns into a blame game. There is no denying where the demand for justice comes from. The coverage on the 24x7 news channel has been wall to wall, but it often turns into an un-journalistic ranting, without fully being aware of the situation.

With the exception of a few sane voices that we have, rest is completely absurd and dangerous. The anchors play a very important role in shaping people's minds and their opinion and the reaction is all the more dangerous sometimes.

The competition for viewers has intensity like nowhere else. Many anchors feel the need to shout louder just to be heard, seen, and clicked upon. And as the political debate has grown more polarized, television output has grown more debased.

When that kind of coverage is fed to the Indian social media, the effects can be dangerous.

But it's crucial in a particular context and mainstream media does not always do the job it should be doing, partly through fear, partly through pressure and partly through political allegiance. And so, if it had fewer fake stories making it through mainstream media then the role of social media would be far less. It's a symbiotic relationship between the two.

Difference between the two are -

Immediate access

News outlets are quick to report information to their audiences, but social media is quicker. All you need is one person with a Smartphone at the scene or an event, and the whole world can be a witness of that particular news and comment on their opinion about it.

Choices

There's much more choice when it comes to social media and its platforms. It's easier to filter out the information that you aren't interested in which is something that isn't possible with the mainstream press. Consumers are in direct control of their social media feeds, they can unknowingly limit the kind of information they see and filter most of the things happening around them.

Opinions

In social media platforms, every opinion is heard and it matters and affects people, but in the mainstream media, it’s just not possible to review every single perspective and thus, it is limited and sometimes biased.

Finality

For the most part, once a story is published on a traditional form of media, it’s final.

Because social media is a form of owned media, you have the control to make updates whenever you need to.

PR pros have the freedom to issue retractions, edit posts after they’re pushed live or even delete messages entirely. And since social media happens immediately, there is absolutely no delay between the time a change is needed and when it reaches audiences.

Laws

While mainstream media goes under a lot of legal laws with I&B ministry and print media has to face charges if not proper and up to the standards, social media doesn’t get scrutinized all the time and people are a lot more careless when giving their views. So it’s liberal and freer.

Conclusion

While social media news coverage is very popular, it is not trustworthy. And despite all the accusations of bias against mainstream media, research shows it remains a trusted source of news. So both social and traditional media have a significant role to play. It's up to consumers to be updated and alarmed, as they use both.

 

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