flickr: wili

We are all used to the idea of hearing a lot of shady stuff about hyped news on traditional media channels. I have since some time now been following some leading websites of online media industry. I mean the afaqs, adgully and like…. I have come to the conclusion that they are as shady as the traditional media – which means they sometimes do print good stuff but its all doubtful, there is no real quality check. It probably gives the mentioned websites/companies good traffic and some eyes but other than that they don’t ensure that the company really does good work.

The two main reasons are this that,

1. Any news by ‘big or veteran’ people are published. I don’t think that they really look at the quality of the venture. Its just about the name being attached to the information and bang lets publish it. This is happening with so many publishing houses including Wall Street Journal. When somebody who is already known introduces something new does it by default become more interesting than something by a smaller player or someone new?? The new guy has to work his butt off without any of these websites even giving him one line of recognition. While this veterans stuff is being published on every single leading website. One then really has to wonder – did the veterans product become successful because it was good or because these media sources just hyped it up.

2. Press releases are printed as is. I just came across the exact same article printed in Afaqs and Adgully. They were sent a press release and they published the whole damn thing word by word – including views of the people involved and all that! So it doesn’t matter whether the company/product mentioned is worth it, what matters is that it went through the right PR agency that has a tie up with these folk. I have seen the same thing happen with Times of India itself – being a social media marketeer, I have worked with PR companies. I get sent the PR content so I write innovative and interesting blogs around that release for my few 100 readers.. while I see that a newspaper like Times of India has the release printed word to word in their newspaper edition for their 1,000s, maybe 10,000s of people.

So what I have realised is that when we say that social media is a ‘new media’ – it does not really include these biggie websites and info sources as they indulge in same crap as they do offline – nothing new about that. What really changes the media is the fact that sometimes my blog post ranks higher on Google than something written in a newspaper. This means that at least for now when the media houses still have stupid, badly built websites small peoples voice can be heard. What happens however when these media houses splurge and get really good websites that rank very well? Then one can only rely on technologies like Social Search, word of mouth spread by the individuals network to really make this online media – ‘new’.

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