Mashable had a really cool info graphic from Schools.com about people's use of social media for news consumption. The title "How Social Media is Taking Over the News Industry" was a bit hyperbolic, but as with all good headlines, it got me to read (in this case, click). As I processed the information, it got me thinking that there are three reasons traditional media still matters.
#1: Traditional media is where the audience is.
Most people still get their news from TV and newspapers. As a news source, TV comes in at about 60%, newspapers about 30% and about 29% for social media and roughly 19% for radio. (The numbers don't equal 100% because typically people are able to pick more than one source for their news.) You're still going to need trained individuals to do traditional media interviews, and you are still going to have to build and maintain relationships with reporters who cover your industry. Social media comes in ahead of radio, but even in 2005, the Pew Center for People and the Press reported that internet news came in ahead of radio (24% vs. 22%).
#2: Traditional media has credibility.
This survey shows that nearly half of the people polled say they have heard breaking news on social media that turned out to be wrong. The race to be first makes for sloppy reporting. What good is immediacy if the information is incorrect? Not that traditional media doesn't blow the story sometimes, just less often than social media.
Social media lets you hold onto your current audiences by connecting with them in new ways. You can also build new audiences with tools that allow you to connect with people you've ever reached before. That's the true power of social media in corporate communications.
Any communication tool that allows you to better connect with your key audiences is worth your attention. No matter the technology, though, communication remains, at its core, a human interaction.
Note: This post has been updated to correct a statistic in the graph on user growth. The original post listed Facebook user growth from 2009-2012 as 800%. It is 400%.