Somedialization Is The New Name Of The Game

“Traditionally, the meaning of medialization and the importance of media logic have been approached from the perspective of legacy media—TV, radio, and print. Legacy media has acted as a gatekeeper between companies and the public, and it has had the power of setting the public agenda. That is, if an issue is covered repeatedly in the media, that public will consider the issue to be more important. The agenda-setting logic has led firms to compete with each other for the favor of the journalists and media and thus favorable and positive press. From the reputation management point of view, this has meant that the arenas of reputation construction have been under the command of the legacy media.

This might not be the case any longer. Legacy media and its power over the public mind have been seriously challenged by social media. As a vital outcome of the digitalization of communication, we have entered the era of somedialization.

What is crucial to notice is that now, for the first time ever, legacy media has been forced to adapt its behavior patterns, such as news and other content production and news dissemination, to meet the social media logic. Legacy media reporters share their content through social media services and brand themselves with tweets and personal social media updates. News stories are promoted and shaped so that they fit the social media literacy in order to lure social media users to click and change over their own media service. In addition, legacy media is in part dependent on social media as a source of news. In order to keep their content up-to-date and thus interesting and appealing, legacy media need active surveillance of public opinion and expectations, which emerge and are disseminated and amplified on social media.

The relationship between legacy and social media companies is reciprocal. The legacy media is trying to implement technological solutions to their online services, which allows people to create and share content—like in social media. Mutually, social media companies are transforming themselves into media. In the spring of 2015, Facebook announced that they have made deals with the legacy media news corporations to publish their content inside the service instead of sharing just the links to the news. With this model, the Facebook user has no need to click the link and move to the news corporation service. In practice, this would turn Facebook into a media firm without content production of its own.

Interestingly enough, social media is a part, and actually quite logical step, of the chronological continuum of the communication technology after writing, drawing, painting, photography, telegraph, telephone, motion picture, radio, television, and Internet. But when it comes to reputation management, the change is revolutionary and actually a gigantic leap from analogical to digital, from monophonic to dialogic, from vertical to horizontal, from controlling to co-operating, and, indeed, from medialization to somedialization.

The text is an excerpt from our new book The Reputable Firm (Aula & Heinonen, 2015) by Springer. Want to know more? Please visit www.thereputablefirm.com

 

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