Dinosaurs Didn't Adapt, But You Should

November 23rd, 2009 by Rob Goodman

Say what you want about social media, but I firmly believe that it’s here to stay and it’s changing the way the world works. And it’s not even social media. Why bother waiting for the morning newspaper to learn about world events or national politics when I can go onto www.cnn.com of www.foxnews.com (always fair and balanced) and find out everything I need to know whenever I want? What kind of an impact is social media having on our conventional news outlets? Try these on for size…

Question: What do the following have in common?

  • Tucson Citizen
  • Rocky Mountain News
  • Baltimore Examiner
  • Cincinnati Post
  • Albuquerque Tribune

Answer: They are all daily newspapers that have closed since 2007.

Question: What do the following have in common?

  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  • Detroit News/Detroit Free Press
  • Christian Science Monitor
  • Ann Arbor News

Answer: They are print dailies that have adopted hybrid online/print or online-only models.

I’m sure there are other major metro daily papers teetering on the brink, but as sad as that may be, what does it say about the changing landscape of the media? The bigger question I have is…could we be approaching a world where everyone gets their news online or on TV in real-time?

While I read many publications, both online and in actual print, the thought of losing my local newspaper does cause me concern. More habit than anything else, part of my morning ritual is to read the paper while I’m having breakfast. I know many people spend a good part of the Sunday mornings reading their local paper or doing the New York Times crossword puzzle. But to be honest I mostly skim the headlines since I’ve almost always gotten my news the day before online. In our 24 hour news cycle world, our insatiable appetite to be “in the know” means having all the news updated in real-time.

So while the potential death of local newspapers is truly a concern, the good news is that the online news world and social media continue to dominate our daily lives. You want proof? Check these out:

  • The rise of Twitter has been the talk of the tech and media world. Last year, it grew 422%. That’s staggering, but nothing compared to the 1,382% growth it experienced earlier this year. (Mashable)
  • More than 8 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide) and there are more than 45 million status updates each day.
  • Did LinkedIn more than double its U.S. visitors in October? A casual glance at the latest comScore data makes it look that way, with LinkedIn shooting up to 20 million unique visitors in October, 2009, from 9 million in September, 2009. (TechCrunch)

The moral of this story? Take hold of the future while not forgetting the past. Print isn’t dead yet, it’s just got a nasty case of the flu.

So what do you think? Is social media a passing fad that will simply fade out over time or is it here to stay?

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