There has been much debate about the unique advantages to different forms of media, most notably the argument of traditional media versus new media. Mass media plays a crucial role in connecting the world of individuals. It has the ability to reach wide audiences with strong and influential messages that have the potential to impact the very foundations of society. Television and Radio have had influence over people’s daily lives and routines for decades, affecting the content and times that audiences watch and listen. The mass media has at least three important roles to play: to inform, to educate and to influence opinion. These distinctive features of traditional media have been challenged by new media, which is changing the participation habits of the audiences.
New media is essentially a cyber culture with modern computer technology, digital data controlled by software and the latest fast developing communication technology. The modern revolution enables everybody to become a journalist at little cost and with global reach. Nothing like this has ever been possible before. What we are witnessing today is the emergence of a global culture in which information and access to information will be the factor that determines which way power and prosperity will go. It is a global system that transcends national borders and institutions and allows people to gain knowledge almost instantaneously. The emergence of blog streams is a reflection on society’s awareness of the importance of information dissemination. New media wields great influence over the younger generation as they are IT-savvy and have an ‘urge to know’. There are concerns among the authorities that parties with vested interests would manipulate this new media to further their purportedly “subversive” objectives.
Traditional journalists often question social media’s validity and credibility, however, I believe that social media provides a number of unique advantages over conventional, widely accepted media channels. First, social media aggregates a diverse pool of sources. Even if one or two miss the mark, statistically most will be factual. Second, social media is immediately correctable and corrected. It is self-regulated, and when an error is found, the community immediately makes the necessary corrections. And finally, much of the news content on social media comes from traditional media in the first place. Social networking sites become another channel through which mass media extends.