J. J. Baloch
The future of media is bright in terms of its basic mission of telling truth, though drastic changes are taking place in the ways of communicating truth to its audiences. Many sceptics believe that social media is future media which, they claim, is more people-friendly, more democratic, more real in real time, more personal, more interactive, freer, more engaging, more sharing, and more appealing. However, the social media is not a replacement of conventional media because it lacks responsibility, professionalism, and authenticity; but it does pose un-comic challenges to the ways traditional media operates.
The future of conventional media appears to be bright but marked with serious suspicions and grave challenges in the wake of developments, taking place in the arena of the internet of things. The big shocks are in store for TV and Newspapers in next five to ten years. On the contrary, the future of digital media or social media is said to be very promising in terms of business, community involvement, good governance, human rights parameters and also environmental considerations. The more digital media rises, the more traditional media gets advanced. Many may object it but social media can’t be a replacement of traditional media which is, by all means, a very responsible and organised media.
Henry Blodget, co-founder, and editor-in-chief of Business Insider, while predicting the future of digital media, says: “Digital media consumption is growing. Everything else is shrinking”. Science and technology are developing digital things more than anything else and people demand things digital more than anything else. People are dreaming of “smart world” in which everything is operated through digits. Cities are getting smarter through their digitisation in developed countries. Henry remarks:” Many cities are already connecting their infrastructure to IoT (Internet of things) devices like sensors and smart meters. But few cities are as far along in that effort as Barcelona.” Urbanisation is facing heavy pressures from growing populations, rising traffic congestion, spreading pollution, mounting street crimes, multiplying domestic violence, aggravating human rights violations and burgeoning terrorism acts which badly needs the civic authorities to find out some smarter ways of planning; so they are going for digitisation as inevitable phenomena.
The internet of things (IoT) has great power to revolutionise everything starting from our home to our business, our cities, our transportation, our communications, our industries and our government. This is affecting revenues generated by traditional media and telephone companies through advertisement, safety, publicity, performance, and also products. Despite all these advances, traditional media adopts the changes very fast by engaging their engineers with journalists to quicken the flow of information in more authentic and reliable way.
What is new to all of is the fact that society is getting mobile or in a much apt sense it is going on mobile, so traditional media is also going on mobile phones as people read newspapers online. Reportedly, the arrival of smartphones, smart watches, smart TVs, smart cars and smart cities have changed altogether the ways we, the humans, have been interacting and sharing information in our societies. According to the Business insider indicators, the estimated access of the global population to the internet is to increase 100 times in next nine years and in 2025 every person on earth will be having ten net connections. This will affect very seriously to everything media in our societies. Henry says: Video, music and digital “print” subscriptions are climbing fast” on social media platforms but the brand ownership still remains with traditional media for authenticity. Source and brand do matter and they matter much more than ever before.
In the area of entertainment, too, social media is trying to overstep traditional media by posting a variety of things to entertain the different segments of our society by addressing their concerns. However, social media don’t have Cinemas to compete with traditional media as laptops and Smartphones are no matches to traditional media TV and Cinema. Through their smartphones, people watch movies, educative videos on different lessons, CCTV footage of disasters and calamities on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and many other social networks within seconds. But social media always compromises authenticity as many entries in Wikipedia are false.
Social media claims to be faster and wider in news communication than traditional media. No doubt, Social media is real time mechanism and traditional media does not always follow its posts as news but very often social media shares traditional media contents.
Traditional Media charges for the monopoly of Content; It controls what is to say, publish and make on air when, how and why. For every “W” traditional media charges and enjoys the monopoly of rates also. Lots of government funds are earmarked for this job to be paid to media houses or media tycoons for publicity, advertisement, public welfare and also for clandestine political support. Social media is public media and have no organised mechanism except chit-chat networks, though more interactive but not informative, educative and opinion builders the way traditional media claims to be.
Individuals, companies, corporations, industries, organisations, community groups, political parties, and governments can make their accounts on any social network such as twitter for news, Facebook, and Google for long posts, YouTube for videos and Instagram for photos. You publish, publicise, advertise, on cheaper rates; what you really need for this are two things: a professional operator and an internet connection __ a simple game of thousands, not of millions as is the case otherwise in traditional media.
However, even if organised very well, social media posts can’t be very professional as is the case in traditional media were very seasoned journalists and analysts having experience of years have required wisdom and vision to conduct themselves in a more dispassionate way and communicate in a responsible manner.
Now even traditional media posts their news items on social media taking pictures from their TVs so that it could reach to the maximum viewers. Those who can’t afford TV and print materials like a magazine and other newspapers which cost handsome amount to be bought for any reason. That’s why Henry predicts, ” TV networks will soon feel newspapers’ pain.” Pain is nothing but of the size of audience who can view the content.
People have hardly any time left for buying newspapers or get them booked instead they get news on their smartphones or read e-version of papers online. This is the reason also most of the issue of the paper their digital versions to cope up but as they are not in real time so public avoids and only students and teachers use them for study and research purposes.
In the future freedom of expression will blaze its own trail with fewer controls of different nature but rather freedom of expression will be at its best in next five to ten years due to emerging citizen journalism on social media. In long run, the more freedom, not information anarchy, will benefit traditional media. Conventional media, as we have seen, has been a ‘monologue model’ in which information is relayed to the audience but now day newspapers are available online for comments.
On the contrary, the Social media is a ‘dialogue model” in which you enjoy your inherent power of not only self-publication but also of conversation which is very important, indeed. However, traditional media, in order to cope with this aspect, is shifting to more listening mode that will go a long way in redefining traditional media in a much better way.
Everything is not rosy in a new phenomenon. There are some dangers and challenges innate in meteoric growth of digital media. Real-time minimises real life interactions. The new games of the power of information are being concentrated in few countries or parts of the world who control social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snap-chat, Instagram, Whatsapp, Flicker, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Viber and many others which have become global with massive penetrations. The realities of media on the ground are globalising monopolies that are destined to create bigger gaps in power and wealth among the people and parts of the world which are already undergoing the disparities caused by capitalism in the backdrop of Industrial Revolution.
Digital experts worldwide believe that after Industrial revolution, the social media revolution is the most powerful influence of technology to change the way humans live on this planet. And After the telephone, Radio and TV inventions, Facebook, YouTube, and many other social media platforms are considered new revolutions in both communications as well as information technologies. Therefore, social media is new media revolution but not threat to traditional media which is to grow much more using social media which is one of the many innovations in opinion industry of media.
WRITER is a Policing educator and practitioner…