Has social media simply become plain old media?

A new blog on Forbes today asked this question:

Haven’t we reached the point where social media has simply become plain old media? Seriously, look at any daily newspaper online today and you’ll see an aggregate of blogs. It’s all just a series of channels through which we are trying to send a message, engage on some level, reciprocate feedback, build reputation, make a buck, or all of the above.

What do you think? There is certainly something to be said about the recently-founded ability to interact with media – whether through online comments, Twitter crowdsourcing, Facebook sharing, or interactive maps and infographics. Sharing stories with Friends, Followers and those in our Circles has become the norm. Though, according to a Pew Research Centre report last year, social media wasn’t driving much traffic to news websites (Twitter wasn't even on the map, with less than 2 per cent).  That said, the same report said as of then, Facebook’s ability to drive traffic was growing, though Google’s search engine still dominated.

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Though the online world works in a "compressed dog-years timescale," and trends can change quickly, there's no conclusive evidence that social media is a dominating force in referring traffic. And ultimately, it comes down to the fact that advertisers pay for people to see or hear their ads, and until social media can prove that it can influence people’s news consumption, the question posed by Forbes remains open for debate.

What do you think? Has social media become synonymous with media in general? What does social media fail to address that traditional media excelled at (or vice versa)? Leave a comment below or tweet us @jsource.