So to get you all up to speed on the subject of this post (especially those living outside the UK), two “comedians” on the BBC have gotten into hot water for a prank call (in poor taste) on a radio show.
Initially there were a small number of listener complaints but some UK newspapers (potentially with an axe to grind) wouldn’t let the issue drop and their continuous coverage of the issue brought matters to a head.
Subsequently Russell Brand has resigned and Jonathan Ross has been suspended.
Listening to the analysis of the snafu as it developed – and the role the national press played – the thought occurred to me how long would it be before the usual suspects started claiming that in a Trent Lott-like development somehow social media has caused the issue to come to a head.
It didn’t take long.
People are now claiming that social media was central to the whole affair.
Eh not it wasn’t.
This need to justify social media’s central role in everything that happens, is at best unappealing.
The world is a crazy, mixed up place. It’s far more complex that many people seem willing to accept, which is why the simplistic and naïve view of social media being the death knell of traditional media (and everything else that pre-dates 2002) is misguided.
For the immediate future we’ll see social media and traditional media living alongside side each other, sometimes operating independently, sometimes together.
But let’s be grown up and stop trying to give credit where it’s not due.
There’s enough hype out there already…
If someone advanced the argument that the traditional media got this issue into the mainstream and that social media fanned the flames by providing access to the footage in the studio and fostered online debate, I’d absolutely buy that. But then that’s all about the integration of traditional and new media. That’s what we’re talking about