From Micro Persuasion:
"Social media, according to Wikipedia, includes "the online tools and platforms that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences and perspectives with each other." This includes blogs, message boards, podcasts, wikis, vlogs and so on. For the last few years this was all considered related to, but separate from mainstream media. That point of differentiation is now gone."
OK, Karl here is my 2 cents:
No, I don't think that the lines will blur to the point that the labels of Social Media and Mainstream Media (MSM) become pointless or moot. What my visual shows above is a clear separation between the two—however there exists a level of interaction that hasn't happened before in the past. They now openly feed off of each other. Mainstream media seems to no longer be ignoring the Social Media movement. They are, in fact working in tandem with Social Media content generators—getting scoops, watching, reading, subscribing. I know this because several MSM'ers have subscribed to my blog.
But does this mean that the lines blur and the distinction goes away? Steve Rubel is a bright guy and he knows this space way better than I do, so he maybe taking a provocative position (or a long term visionary one)—but in my opinion we've got a long way to go before MSM and Social Media are indistinguishable.
Here's a few anecdotal first hand experiences to help illustrate the points I am making.
1. When I watch the news/listen to the radio, I still hear journalists speaking skeptically of Social Media even though they now openly reference it in their stories. Plus, I’ve worked in Newsrooms in both print and broadcast years ago, many of the same people still remain in power at the top.
2. Most of the people I work with are vaguely familiar with my blog (some not at all) and usually only perk up when they hear about the BusinessWeek/Boston Globe mentions. In fact, even though this blog has moved very quickly in a short amount of time, my actual work responsibilities haven't changed much since before I started the blog.
3. Many mainstream media outlets have their own versions of blogs, podcats etc. but this isn't Social Media—it's the MSM using technologies such as Podcasting, personal publishing or RSS to distribute content in new ways. They are using the techology to innovate how their content is shared or even interacted with.
4. Whether we like it or not, us content creators are still fighting for credibility. It's getting better—but we don't have the clout of a New York Times/WSJ piece etc. There's a distinction there. Sorry. And lots of bloggers are in the midst of writing good old-fashioned books (Godin, Jaffe, Shel) etc. Why? Credibility—and exposure to those who still aren't participating (or even consuming user generated content). Yes, for some if it's not in a book—it's not real.
So if I were to make a prediction for the next year or two, it wouldn’t be that the line between the two would dissolve and that Social Media as we know it dies (or the MSM for that matter) however, I think a more probable scenario is that Social Media steadily begins to establish more mainstream credibility. The MSM continues to be more open about leveraging their Social Media sources—we see more Vincent Ferarri's taking on AOL's and more video taping of Comcasts etc.
And here's a sign of the times. Lately on the evening news I have noticed a new phenomina. Many of the video clips that are being featured are pulled straight off of YouTube. You see the logo and everything. Is that blurring of the lines? Well, it's getting closer to it—but it's not. When we see Amanda Congden replace Katie Couric—well then MAYBE the lines have completely blurred.
OK, that was an exaggeration everyone. :)