October 23, 2009...3:32 pm

Mainstream Media Still Matters

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Caution: This post could be construed as gratuitous self promotion because I work for We Seed’s parent company, PEAK6 Online.

I don’t even own a television, but tonight I’ll be camping out in front of someone else’s set to watch We Seed on 20/20.

I know a lot of us in social media circles like to focus on the interest and influence of social media in the way information spreads, but the growth patterns differ greatly. Social media is great for long-term growth and facilitation of word of mouth, but mainstream media (especially national mainstream media) still packs a wallop and has the ability to get a lot of people talking about something all at once.

I’ve used this graphic a lot in the past, but it’s still very relevant. One of my favorite images from David Armano is one that shows the ripple effect in online conversation. To get a better look, click the image and check it out on David’s Flickr profile. If thousands of people throw small rocks in a pond all at once, it can equal and surpass one very large rock thrown into the same still water. That doesn’t mean we should discount the power and force of the huge rock.

We Seed is a great example of a company that has relied mostly on social media and grass roots outreach to spread the word about its mission of providing a fun way to learn about the stock market, but I’m excited to see where this level of attention will take the company and the very talented team of people who work to make the site a success.

A big congrats to everyone on the We Seed team!

Got beef with the influence of mainstream media? Don’t just take my word for it – read these posts:

Mainstream Media Relations, More Important Than Ever

Smart Targeting: Influencers or Fans?


  • Couldn’t agree more. In fact those of us who work in this space can be in danger of having an almost cartoonish view of the media that has no link to reality.

    A stat I wheel out again and again, online newspapers may have many more readers than the print editions, but when you look at reading time, 88% is in print – http://bit.ly/LmJNO

  • Congrats on We Seed for getting on 20/20.

    I think we are foolish to think mainstream media does not have its place in society. There is still a segment of the population who isn’t online. Maybe they will share your story with their kids or grandkids when they see your story.

    Mainstream media does have its purpose just trying to figure out how everything fits together is the jigsaw puzzle everyone is trying to figure out.

  • hubertus von Lobenstein

    I´d rephrase the headline: “Mainstream Media would still matter, if…..”. If I look at the data on younger audiences, they just don´t trust mainstream media to produce relevant stories for them. Therefor they don´t consider them part of your “ripple chain”. It is not a matter of mainstream vs. online. It´s about here the relevant content is…

    • Hubertus,

      Excuse my late arrival to this conversation. I just wanted to pick up on your point about not “trusting mainstream media to produce relevant stories for them”.

      As a teenager, I find this trend of “relevant stories” gets very mixed at times. I mean, the convential young person may get their news from an official source such as BBC, but at the same time they may not.

      I think relevant content for younger people depends on how they want to consume the information also, do they want short tidbits within Tweets and Facebook updates. Or do they want the full picture, I think mainstream diversification has shown us that people want choice, and I certainly think young people are at the forefront of choosing what they want, and what they don’t.

  • steve cunningham

    Shannon – I agree that mainstream media still matters, and will for as long as it continues to reach the masses. But I think we can all agree that the influence is in steep decline, and at some point it will cease to be a powerful force.

    I’m talking about the mediums, not the messengers, as I’m sure some of the mainstream media companies will solve their revenue models and continue to dominate in the future.

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