Social Media…Alternative Media or Mainstream Media?

Tonight’s blog is a heavy topic and perhaps maybe a topic that doesn’t have one answer that I am starting to think about more and more between my academic coursework and my internship in Corporate Communications. Many of us tend to think of social media as something different, or rather an alternative media, because it is not your typical television, radio, and face-to-face communication. Corporations these days are horrified to even consider Social Media for reasons like security, the audience of Social Media, and how to keep private information private and make certain infomation public while still being “hip” in the world of Social Media. I understand these concerns, but I also feel that many advances have been made in the security of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, and that Communications is about finding the audience, so therefore why not create communication tools to reach the wide audience of Social Media.

With that being said, I question if Social Media is actually an alternative form of media or is it a mainstream media that companies must keep up with in order to compete in Corporate America. Personally, I think Social Media was a from of alternative media when instant messaging first became an idea and when the only search engine was google and when yahoo! was the coolest website to have an email account with. But today, with so many social media choices including, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr, Linkedin, and Yammer, I would argue that Social Media has become a form of mainstream media and is a must for both users of Social Media and corporations in general.

I think that we need to continue to push more of the older generation to become a part of Social Media as it connects us to our family and friends from distances, it teaches us about the culture of others, and it connects us to news about others which helps us to be informed human beings with just a click of a button. Social media is not new, and truly it is not different; it is merely a way of life in 2011.

If it is a way of life for people, then it must be a way of life for companies! I think instead of companies fearing the affects and trials of Social Media they should embrace it like many people have and use it to their benefit. I see social media as a great way to advertise, a recruiting tool to hire new employees, and a way to get the message of your company to others who rely on Social Media for their news and are strongly persuaded by Social Media.

So the question is still a question…Is social media an alternative media or a mainstream media? I’m not sure of the answer although my thought would be that it is mainstream or at least becoming a mainstream media in our society today. Either way, embrace it! Social media has a lot to offer and you do to if you can use your skills to be a young employee empowering Corporate America with the tools of Social Media.


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