MYTH TWO: Only blogs are relevant.
A technology enthusiast, Patrick Foarde is vice president and general manager of eKetchum, the agency's digital media-development group.
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While there's little debate that Web logs, or blogs, forums and social networking sites are legitimate sources of information and influence today for consumers, the notion that these new media channels are superseding traditional media is, at best, aspirational.
Consumers do not rely on single sources for news and content. They prefer traditional media channels and, in particular, local TV and newspapers. The Ketchum/USC study indicates that use of these channels trends at roughly 70 percent, while use of blogs and social networking sites trend at 13 and 17 percent, respectively. This is fairly consistent across gender and age. And perception of media credibility also remains stronger in traditional channels.
Still, we can't forget that blogs, forums and social networking sites are evolving into powerful word-of-mouth channels. Blogging, of course, was born from self-expression, not from journalism. Bloggers, like editorial writers and essayists, are inherently opinionated and, many times historically, have not been overly concerned with veracity or objectivity. In the past few years, though, bloggers with strong credentials have emerged to provide commentary that is thoughtful, researched and fact-checked.
These bloggers are behaving more like traditional journalists. Yet the blogosphere still hasn't established the standards for accuracy and verification that guide traditional journalism. Bloggers themselves belie the uber-relevance of new media. They rely heavily on online news outlets that, typically, are extensions of their offline counterparts, to source their commentaries.
We should maintain a balanced perspective on blogs and other new media channels and use them wisely. Online is an important part of the media mix but so remains traditional media.