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Social media has fractured the traditional communications landscape as we once knew it and has generated a whole new protocol for the media industry. Indeed, many see the introduction of social media as the first step in dismantling traditional media formats. Nowadays, everybody can be a journalist, actor or political commentator and publish their own material online. It’s tricky to say exactly how powerful social media is and to judge whether it will replace traditional formats, but it’s clear that it has made a significant impact in several areas.
Many cite the use of social media for the success of the Arab Spring back in 2010, something which is difficult to discredit. But what about the media landscape? It is a fact that print newspapers are in decline because of the internet and that many have set up their own blog or website, to varying degrees of success. But it seems that the main change is not just replacing TV shows, the online newspaper or radio broadcasts, but rather incorporating new media forms into the traditional formats. Most factual based shows now invite the viewer to get involved on social media and express their thoughts, comments and opinions. We’re seeing fusion rather than a battle between the two.
Another way the media are responding to social media is by using it as a catalyst for different material and a source of information. Journalists use it as a way to find stories and garner more details on events. Rarely a day goes by when a debate show doesn’t cover a social media story and we’re all struggling with not only the ethics of social media, but also the legality of our actions when using it.
It seems unlikely that social media will replace traditional media completely, as people still enjoy listening and watching informed professionals but it is having an ever more significant impact on the way we mediate our society.