Several weeks ago, BusinessWeek columnist Jon Fine shared a term in one of his predictions for 2009 that was intriguing because of how it describes a growing phenomenon in media today … the rise of the shadow media. The shadow media are the professional journalists, writers, editors and thought leaders who have been displaced either by choice or necessity as part of the upheaval that traditional media has been going through over the past few years. While before, these content creators may have just moved to a new role within traditional media (as Josh Quittner did when Business2.0 magazine folded) – but today more and more they are branching out on their own.
The result is a big trend that may start to redefine social media as we currently see it: namely that blogs, social networks and other forms of “new media” aren’t just for amateurs anymore. For some time now, respected journalists like Om Malik, Kara Swisher, Erick Schonfeld and dozens of others have been actively blogging. Engadget is the official media source for the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show, and arguably will be the defacto media source of coverage for the event though there are many traditional publications attending as well.
It may seem like a stretch to refer to all of this as “shadow media” – and indeed some of these classifications are artificial to start with. But regardless of what you call these new sources of news and information, the indisputable fact is that in 2009 there will be many social media examples to point to where the quality is as good if not better than traditional media sources. So if you’re working in a communications role and you’re not yet focusing on social media … consider the shadow media phenomenon your wake up call to start in 2009.