Monday, June 25, 2007

Who are the media?

I just looked up the definition of media from, and found the following:

"me·di·a: (usually used with a plural verb) the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely"

This definition, however, is a bit shortsighted considering the world we live in today. Media are no longer just radio, TV, newspapers and magazines (though they are still all very strong media). We need to expand the definition of "media" to include bloggers, podcasters and, to a certain extent, users of social networks (i.e. MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). These are what constitute social media.

Last week at work we held a pilot session for what we hope will become on ongoing series of classes on the basics of social media for GM employees. Christopher Barger, director of global communications and technology at GM, was quick to point out that our team (the social media team) is not out to try to tell people that social media is good or bad; people just need to understand that social media is here and we can choose to embrace or reject it.

Professional PR and communications practitioners need to avoid a common mindset that social media people are not really the media. If we only ever think of print, TV and radio as the only media out there then we are doing our organization and our publics a big disservice. When we invite traditional media out to cover events, we should be inviting bloggers and podcasters as well.

Social media is here. We as PR practitioners can either accept it or not, but it's here to stay.

No comments: