New and Old Media – Never the Twain Shall Meet?

October 23, 2006 Social Influence 3 comments

You would probably have heard it many times.

Old media is outmoded and left on the shelf. New media is the new HOT thing. Throw away your television and radio sets.

Cancel your subscription to Straits Times. Forget about browsing magazines. Don’t even bother about paying money for online content when 99.999% are FREE.

Citizen generated content is now the rage. Blogging is the new killer application – there are now close to 60 million blogs and counting. People now go for genuine peer-to-peer messages in whatever forms – videos, podcasts, words, photos, even avatars.

The conversation IS the market. Buzz, idea viruses and word-of-mouth is IN. So are social media and web 2.0 applications – youtube, flickr, wikipedia, technorati,, squidoo, and so much more.

Personally, I feel that one can have both pies and eat them. We cannot just live in a well and pretend that the blogosphere does not exist. At the same time, any effective integrated communications strategy will still need to depend on the mass and immediate reach of traditional print, broadcast and event channels. Like it or not, the majority of the population are still not as 2.0 savvy as we wish them to be.

Instead of choosing one over the other, why not have the best of both worlds and integrate both forms of media in your campaign? Of course, the naysayers may warn that you could come across as fake, “selling your soul”, and un-genuine. There has been scepticism and sniggers over recent crossover acts like STOMP, blogtv and of course the now defunct TODAY columns which starred mrbrown, mr miyagi and Sarong Party Girl.

You can’t doubt that any effort which traverses multiple platforms – some call it media hopping -tend to have a higher chance of success and longevity than just a singular blast. The challenge then is how to harness the different characteristics and even idiosyncrasies of multiple media forms to your advantage. That is a necessity for communicators in any age – from the days of the pony express, telegraph machine, radio, television, Internet and so on.

I believe that the most successful communicators would be those who can leverage on the power of both old and new. One who can schmooze with the spin doctors, deal with the digital denizens, and be as comfortable on prime time TV, Class 95 FM,, and a top of the charts technorati listing. Those who are able to mix and fuse multiple forms of communication in the ways that they work best – without being uncovered as a phoney (see Walmart – Edelman debacle) – would ultimately prevail.

Any thoughts on this?

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. I don’t think it’s a question of choosing between old media or new media; actually I don’t think there’s a choice.

    New media is here to stay, and like it or not, organisations have to adapt to the spike in conversations.

    With regards to content generation – citizen generated content can only go so far, and most of them stem from articles in the mainstream media. The noise to signal ratio is too high for us to do away with MSM.

  2. Agree. This is why mainstream media still has a big share of voice despite the flourishing of myriad blogs. It will be interesting to see if their attempts at cross-overs will work, especially if they are throwing in oodles of cash to fund these efforts.

  3. Coincidentally, Kevin, Brennan and I had an iChat discussion over the same issue:
    My view is that it’s really about Mainstream Media “WITH” bloggers rather than “Vs”. We’re all in this together. I suggested that the reason we have this “Us Vs Them” mentality basically boils down to human mentality — we all want someone to “dislike” : )

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