Social Media Vs T.V: who is the Broadcaster?


I lost my president yesterday!

Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Umaru Musa Yar’adua

It was bedtime and my laptop was on sleep mode. The Hewlett-Packard was gracefully perched on its habitual spot, close to my bedside, for early morning Facebook and Twitter ’rounds’ – the kind surgical interns do very early in the morning on Grey’s Anatomy. You shouldnt be suprised since I have admitted being a media studies junkie anyway. So back to my story…

I fall asleep, and not too long afterwards my cell phone rings. It is my housemate from her room downstairs (has technology made us lazy? YES).

“Have you heard the news, Yar’adua is dead” she yells.

“What? where did you hear that from, facebook or twitter?” I grouchily manage to yell back, since for some reason I just knew she would not be watching the TV at that moment.

Now let us break down this exchange. Never mind that we used the verb “hear” not “read” to qualify our access to the news. The basic assumption here is that news gotten online is almost as real as the TV medium, you tend to forget you actually READ the news, even where you read and (or) watched.

But what was most appealing to my ever-ready-media-analytical mind, amidst the sorrow of the loss, was the fact that social media (twitter & facebook) was abuzz with this breaking news and instant reactions to it, while mainstream media such as TV was ….may I say losing out. If the coming of  T.V promised instant message broadcast … new media is delivering an even more instant platform for messages.

As T.V houses gave one line breaking news bulletins and struggled to put together content to form a story, contact analysts to comment and all the stuff that goes on in the news room (which will have to be aired the following day); the internet was reeling with news and reactions… reporters dropped spot-of-the-moment findings, like ” I am still trying to get the information minister to confirm this report”…..

I cannot but sense the approach of a new phase in news-casting. There is an on-going battle between social media (internet) and Television. Convergence of these media provides a promising front. How will this marriage work? TV stations can use social media to break the news and lure the audience away from their PCs to the front of the TV set that has been idling away in the living-room for ages.

It is just a thought… perhaps I may churn a more scholarly post later… for all the book lovers.

I lost my President yesterday…. but I just had to ask this question, ‘who is the broadcaster in this new age?’


6 thoughts on “Social Media Vs T.V: who is the Broadcaster?

  1. aro says:

    Good question… answer could be – the broadcaster in the new age is the “converger.” Convergence of all forms of media is the key – I read, I hear, I watch, I contribute.

  2. Tee says:

    There are different issues involved here. Recently I read a similar blog about the Gizmodo’s leak of the news Apple iPhone, which was followed by a police raid on one of the Gizmodo people’s homes. A question was then raised – are bloggers journalists? Relating it to this case about social media vs mainstream media, you have to realise the number of things…if a regular person goes on Twitter to say that Barack Obama is dead, he/she won’t get in trouble, but it would be different if a journalist says so…hence the points of credibility and accuracy. Journalists have to clarify and be spot on. You’d rather trust a journalist who tells the truth and is 1hour late, than one who breaks the news and 1hour later retracts it.
    Speed vs accuracy.
    False (or sometimes just controversial) news reports result in huge sums of money having to change hands in form of fines, and/or jobs being lost – not just the reporter but sometimes his/entire entire line of managers (remember the case of BBC’s Andrew Gilligan who said the Iraq dossier had been “sexed up”?)
    Social media is still largely in the “hobby” stage, and not entirely in the “profession” stage. I know a few fulltime bloggers, but no fulltime tweeters. Hence the dynamics are different.

    As you say, media convergence is key. A TV station won’t want to lose its audience to social media, even if its still in its own domain, and at the same time it wouldnt want people to watch and not get involved in its social media links.

  3. Aboki says:

    Interesting piece…

  4. Chichi says:

    there is a lot of hear-say going on….i say the broadcasters are us and the source is ofcourse those who vehemently work, seek and are leaked or fed the news daily…..the press!…..
    may his soul rest in peace!

  5. Justin Okoli says:

    Even though this right up was dated last year, im just reading it today anyway. I want to stress three things. One is a commendation, one a contribution and the last a suggestion.
    As i read through this write up, it cropped up in reminiscence the days i write my coursework and essays, and how much i try to make the Lexis and content flow, the experience however made me adept in identifying a professional writeup. On this juncture, i want to assert without syllogism that you (Tomi) are a proficient writer; your choice of words, and blend of concepts in driving your points is resplendent.
    Secondly, in contributing to your write up……I would say as much as it seems like social media is overtaking the TV in the pronto dissemination of information, the issue of “trust” should not be jettissioned. People tend to believe what they see on TV than what they see on twitter or facebook (I stand to be challenged).
    Lastly, this is a suggestion, I think you should always try to revisit/repost some of your old blogs. Knowledge is not about date of publication, but in it’s relevance to meeting present need.



  6. fehintolu says:

    Good one, its a good thing TV stations re using social media these days at least in developed nations. A marriage is in evitable and we will need their credibility on social media too. I heard osamas death on twitter but immediately turned my TV on to CNN to confirm b4 believing. There’s a convergence already but d only issue is accuracy of the news and that’s where we need our Media houses to come in.

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