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Social media has been around for a few years now but the growth of smart phones and apps have caused it to explode. You can do pretty much anything you want with social media – watch the news, watch videos, have conversations with friends and strangers, apply for a job, etc. The list is endless.

So what does this mean for print media? Is it dying? Is it eventually going to become obsolete?

It may seem that print media is dying with the amount of people using social media these days. But we have to keep in mind that there’s a correlation between technology and geographical areas. At work last week, I questioned the effectiveness of business ads that I was working on when I was reminded that these ads were for smaller communities such as Delhi, Simcoe, Strathford, etc. People in these smaller communities still rely heavily on newspapers for their daily news, classifieds and other advertisements. Some of them don’t even have internet.

The discussion of print vs. social media reminds me of my 90 year-old grandmother. She received a call from Bell a couple of weeks ago offering internet service, which she politely declined. When the Bell representative asked her why, my grandma told him that she did not have a computer. He was flabbergasted. Who in the world these days did not have a computer? My grandma then proceeded to tell him that she was 90 years old. Ah, that explains it!

Research done in the UK in late 2011 indicated that 62 per cent of respondents would trust print media more than social media. Only 21 per cent of respondents would take news from social media seriously.

I’m not suprised by the findings at all. It’s so easy to spread the word via social media. But it’s like playing the telephone game. News can get lost in translation. Who can we trust? But on the other hand, I think it really depends on the news source. For example, I would trust a tweet from CP24 or 104.5 more readily than a tweet from a friend.

While social media is going to continue to grow, I don’t think that it will kill print media. Perhaps one day the data might turn and more people will show more trust in social media news. However, there are still people like my grandma who has not been able to keep up with technology at all, let alone social media. I don’t think my grandma has even heard of social media and still relies heavily on print media.

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