Social Media is dead – long live Social Media!

Ben Parr is asking on Mashable: “Are social media jobs a fad or are they here to stay?” My answer would be: yes and no (that’s a quite common way for sociologists to answer complex questions like this).

Why yes? Because social media managers, analysts etc. are on the right side of the current change of mass media. The numbers tell us again and again that especially the younger generations are increasingly losing sight of the television and turning to the more involving experience of social networking, messaging and publishing. It will only be a matter of time until they discover that the internet as a versatile medium can not only stimulating but also relaxing.

Why no? Because the borders between social and not-so-social media are blurring. Ask a teenager what’s the difference between a regular NY-Times article on the web, Paul Krugman’s column, Krugman’s blog on NY-Times and the teenager’s own LiveJournal. And this is just the beginning of a massive media convergence that renders the concept “social media” obsolete.

A recent study of media use in Germany by the public broadcast organizations found out that although “social media” is more and more important for kids and teenagers (91% of them are using Wikipedia, 90% video platforms and 68% social networks), only 24% of them do know, what the word “blog” or “weblog” means. And of those 24%, two thirds are feeling that blogs are overrated. But still, they are using them.

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