Edelman’s Steve Rubel has set off a social media frenzy when he proposed last week that the term “social media” was passe, being that Big Media has adopted social media tendencies and thus there is no longer a distinction between the new form of social media and the type of journalism formerly known as “mainstream media.” Deservedly, Rubel has been beaten about his virtual head and neck by social media-ists rushing to defend their turf and point out the obvious differences between social and mainstream media.
Of course there is overlap between the two – plenty of social media sites are practicing “real” journalism, and plenty of big media outlets are welcoming consumer-generated content on their sites. There are crappy bloggers and top-tier bloggers, just as there are crappy mainstream media personalities and top-tier mainstream journalists. But the terms still define two very distinct types of journalism. Shel Israel said it best:
It has never been Scoble v. the Wall Street Journals. It has been the dialog vs. the monologue.
Shel quickly apologized for the tone of his smackdown (but not the substance), attributing his sour mood to a personal issue. The published mea culpa struck me as the main difference between social and traditional media. Let’s see Bill O’Reilly do that!