It’s funny to think about it, but the debate over exactly how to classify social media it still raging. There are those, in the standard mass media, who still want to believe that social media is some kind of passing phase or just a lark that people use to amuse themselves. It is like they deny the fact that people sharing news clips and information via social media is having an extraordinary effect on companies and media in general.
An article by Augie Ray for Forrester’s officially declares that social media is now a mass medium: http://blogs.forrester.com/augie_ray/10-12-12-four_signs_social_media_is_now_a_mass_medium
You can read the entire article at the link above. Ray gives four signs that things like Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media are now the mass media of the day. It also looks at the fact that social media may be a little more disorganized than the standard press, but that does not mean it doesn’t have profound reach.
Social media was first adopted by younger users. The entire point of Facebook, in its early days, was for college students to stay in touch with each other and family. However, the days when social media is just the domain of the young is long gone. Ray discusses the fact that 59% of adults now join forms of social media such as Facebook.
The article also discusses that the standard press still likes to cite studies that show they are more relevant than Facebook or Twitter. However, Ray points out that the entire country does not read the New York Times, but it is still the newspaper of record. So, it isn’t the sheer number of people who read your Tweets or Facebook information, but whether or not the right key people are reading it.
Ray concludes something most of the world has concluded. That is that social media is here and here to stay. It is now a key way to get a message across. He discusses the fact that a huge company like Proctor & Gamble has now moved almost entirely to social media rather than spending millions on advertising. When something like that happens, you know that social media is here to stay.