Showdown Between Your Parents' Media and the Twitterati

08/03/2010 01:34 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I know, I know. Social media has made us dumber. And killed journalism and politics and socializing and kids these days. Maybe even the United States of America, too.

Working in the communications field, I know the plea well: "Print media can't die!" I'm sympathetic to it. I grew up with newspapers. The hard print kind that stained your hands with ink. I remember the day the New York Times started printing in color, and the ensuing debate at the breakfast table. "Is this really necessary?" "It's about damn time! This is the 90s!" I have warm memories of slogging away on my high school and college newspapers, and the excitement of a fresh-off-the-press issue.

But times change, and I haven't subscribed to a print publication in years. I often find the best stories I read are through my friends' Facebook and Google Reader posts. The news tidbits I get throughout the day come from Twitter bursts on my computer screen, not press releases that pile up on the fax machine.

Have I gotten lazier? More shallow? Or-- could it be-- that this use of social media is actually making us better read? What if it makes us-- and the USofA-- smarter? And more relevant?

Instead of taking sides, I propose a good old American throw-down. Old media versus new. Gloves off.

Round One: The Media Wars

Social Media

@SocialMaven: Social media declares itself winner agst old school print thing

Old Media

***For Immediate Release***

Old media accepts its own demise; seeks comfort in old editions of New Yorker
New York, NY-- Today the bastions of print journalism announced they are stepping down from further attempts to be relevant.

"Ultimately we had no choice but to accept we're obsolete," Mr. Bastion Sr. said. "We will, however, keep producing print products that nobody reads. For old time's sake."

When reached for comment, the kings of social media responded by Tweet--
@SocialMaven: Abt time! How long til this release is read? #oldmediaFTL

Mr. Bastion Sr. acknowledged the difference in approach and wished the new kings well. "I hear Tweetering is the wave of the future and look forward to writing an investigative piece on it in the future."

Round two: Let's get personal

Social Media

Johnny V is no longer listed as "in a relationship" with Jeanne F.
--Katie W: Oh no! Wht happened? You and Jeanne were so cute together!! =(
--Vince T: Hang in there bud. Let's get wasted tonight with the soccer team and pretend like you never met that harlot!
--Jack V: Screw her and screw the baseball team. Tonight's gonna be tight! And Chicago this fall's gonna be even more money!

Old media

The Daily Kansan

Word on the Quad Column
by Katie W.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, fellow students, or even the bearer of old news by the time this comes out but cutest-couple-on-campus Johnny and Jeanne have broken up after eight months together. The decision was mutual, Johnny confirmed.

"You know, Johnny's about to move to Chicago, and I still have another year in school," Jeanne told me when I ran into her at a baseball game yesterday. "I obviously wish him well in his next life stage."

When reached for further comment, our favorite soccer player confirmed that he would be enjoying his final days as a Jayhawk surrounded by friends.

Round three: Leave it to those Washington insiders

Social media

David Axelrod just unlocked the Campaign Manager badge @ GObama 2012 Campaign Headquarters (Arlington, VA)

Old media

Washington Post

Obama starts 2012 campaign; opens new headquarters with Axelrod at helm
Washington, DC-- President Barack Obama is looking ahead to the 2012 election. Today the White House announced the first pieces of its campaign machine with the opening of its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

Senior Advisor David Axelrod has been named campaign manager and has resigned from his Administration role, effective 8am tomorrow, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed.

"I'm excited to lead President Obama into another successful term," Axelrod said. "He has done a fantastic job over the past two years and will continue to be pivotal for our country to continue on the right trajectory."

At a press conference this morning Gibbs said Obama is sad to see Axelrod leave the Administration but is pleased to have him on board for his second term elections. "David obviously did a great job in 2008, and the President is glad he's agreed to lead the 2012 ship."


The Final Score
Social Media: 103 words, 497 characters, 0 LOLs
Old Media: 399, 1979, 1 New Yorker reference