New Media Gets the Buzz, Old Media Still Pays the Bills

Molly Shannon and Betty White on Saturday Night Live

Photo: randomcuriosity

Molly Shannon and Betty White pictured on a live TV broadcast of Saturday Night Live; Betty White's recent appearance on the show was voted on by Facebook fans.

I’m not a luddite. Really, I’m not. I get the whole social media frenzy. We in broadcasting must engage with the tens of millions of people who tweet and post to facebook. Social Media is a legitimate force, it’s just not taken over the world – yet. Saturday was a great example of how the worlds are converging, but “old media” is still the primary force.

WOSU hosted a PubMedia Camp Saturday – a day devoted to exploring how facebook, twitter and other social media channels can build community and encourage engagement. It was a terrific event. Lots of brilliant creative thinkers came together to share ideas and force each other to communicate in new ways. We saw how tools like facebook and twitter have exploded and are now the media gateways of choice for millions of people around the world.

But there was an undercurrent of irony throughout the day.

As big as social media is, old media pays most of the bills. During an excellent opening session it was 40 minutes before the topic of a social media business model surfaced in the discussion. A participant pointed out that one social media guru who has found a way to make money on the web has a book on the New York Times Bestseller’s List and gives motivational speeches around the country. So this new media guru’s measure of success is the printed word and the spoken word – the two oldest forms of media we have.

One of the most popular sessions attended by the new media fans was how to pitch and produce a radio and TV program for WOSU. It seems our “old” media still has some cache.

The last bit of irony came after the camp, late in the evening- 11:35 to be exact. Betty White hosted Saturday Night Live. Her appearance came because more than a half million facebook users successfully demanded it. No doubt the campaign was an overwhelming social media success and showed how powerful facebook is. But think about it for a moment: The facebook movement began when Betty White reappeared on a television commercial during the Super Bowl. And what was the end result of this “new media“ crusade? Betty White performing on live, over-the-air network broadcast television – something she first did in 1952 on the sit-com Life with Elizabeth.


Join The Conversation

  • Bethia

    I also see some irony in your ‘local bloggers’ section on the right hand side of the page. The only local blog listed is no longer active.

  • S. Miller

    First, new media is not just social media so why the heavy focus? Social media is more like the publicity department. New media includes vast opportunities from blogging to on-line video to on-line learning, etc. The possibilities are endless.

    Second, in regards to Betty White’s SNL appearance, you write, ” And what was the end result of this “new media“ crusade? Betty White performing on live, over-the-air network broadcast television…” Really? That is far from the END result. The SNL episode is available on HULU where it will be watched by millions on their computers.

    Finally, clearly new media and traditional media are not mutually exclusive. Just as the typewriter did not do away with the hand written letter and e-mail has not done away with the hand crafted note card, the methods, techniques and crafts of old and new must learn to embrace one another.