Mainstream media strikes back at social

Mainstream media strikes back at social

Mainstream  media strikes back at social

The collective onslaught of social media might have put traditional media on the quintessential backfoot.

The insanely democratic social media biggies might have instilled the fear of imminent death on old media. But the empire struck back, ironically at a Social Media Week (SMW) event designed to proclaim the new media’s triumphant supremacy.

Of course, the conventional media had a lot of defending to do. When a hardcore social media buff talked about the interactivity of news on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, the old guard baulked. Yet they hit back, pointing fingers at social media’s blatant lack of control, credibility and sense of responsibility. The counter-attack was so vehement that the net-savvy Gen X staged a rare retreat. “Yes, social media still relies on print / electronic media as a primary news resource,” admitted one from the new school.

Blogger, Shakthi V’s spirited defence of mainstream media at News Cafe in Indiranagar, had an apparent excuse. He had experienced the online brigade’s vicious attack against anything mainstream. The widening divide growing to monstrous proportions had unsettled him.

“When you side with any print publication (in an online debate), you are opening yourself to attack. Some even called me a ‘presstitute,’” the blogger’s recollected in all frankness.

But Karthik Srinivasan from Ogilvy wouldn’t be impressed so fast. In a quick retort to a loaded query -- “how do you control social media when a poison spreads?” --, he had a counter poser: “How can you control a mob?” Yet, Shakthi remained convinced that without social media policing, mainstream media would continue to be the most trusted.

His implication was clear: Social media had a trust deficit, and has a long time to catch up, at least 10 to 12 years!

Striking a balance with her timely recall of Deepika Padukone’s brush with a leading English daily, Dhanya Rajendran from thenewsminute.com turned the debate on its head. Her poser: Do celebrities, with twitter follower base far exceeding that of mainstream newspapers, really need the old boys?

The question appeared just tailor-made to be in tune with Karthik’s earlier comment: That even ordinary folk now had a voice thanks to social media, they had a chance to score over the one-sided gyaan the mainstream media once confidently dished out!

The spokesmen for print media couldn’t contest the internet’s democratic credentials. That was a weak point, yes. So was the print’s loosening grip on “exclusive” stories. Dhanya’s insistence that a story lost its exclusivity within five minutes of it appearing online, was grudgingly accepted as the new reality.

A print media professional’s final submission that the gap between online and offline media would eventually close, sounded like a compromise. But it had dignity written all over!

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