Social Media Vs Traditional Media: Impact on Society

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About this sample


Words: 1189 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 1189|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Role of Traditional Media in Society
  3. Rise of Social Media Impact
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works Cited


Media refers to the notion of different communication channels informing and influencing people on a global scale. The word media is plural for medium in which, people mediate between those who are giving information and those who are receiving it. The purpose of media is to inform, advertise, educate, and entertain through the provision of communication services. It enables messages to be crossed across time and space whereby, face-to-face communication fails to deliver on a mass scale. It holds an important and essential aspect towards the way society functions. Media can be expressed using traditional formats or social network sites. This essay aims to show particular emphasis on what differentiates these communication channels and how the influence of social media vs traditional media might differ, especially among adolescents.

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Role of Traditional Media in Society

Traditional media refers to channels such as; newspapers, television, and radio which is highly influential through various measures, whereby politicians use media in order to manipulate and influence voters. Jay G. Bulmer et al (2009) claimed that television opened politics to wider society and made people feel a part of the political process, in which, the audience for politics grew. Furthermore, traditional media can be credited for having standards and quality control. The radio, television and majority of newspapers are written by investigative journalists and professionals who ensure the account is correct and has come from a reliable source. Quality control is ensured by fact checkers in which, The Times (5 January 2019) released an article highlighting clarifications on facts and figures that were previously incorrect. This certifies their legal liability of ensuring that the articles are accurate and, emphasises the notion that traditional media is readily identifiable. Reliability of traditional media helps influence and develop awareness in youngsters, as they acknowledge that these are serious issues occurring globally. Nevertheless, traditional media has been influential towards society regarding the way that they represent people. Solomos and Back (1996, cited in Fulcher and Scott, 2011) argued that the news has produced a negative stereotype of black people whereby, they expressed that the media created ‘the 1960s welfare scrounger’, ‘the 1970s mugger’ and ‘the 1980s rioter’. This influenced society because it resulted in black people being stigmatised and categorised as being different and, to the extent that black people were of a threat to British culture. Furthermore, traditional media struggles to closely attract a specific target audience. Brendan Kitts et al (2010) expresses that there are various limitations due to television technology and the inability to study one-to-one personal preferences to promote ideal products. This means that advertisement is constrained as it cannot determine the exact audience they are broadcasting too. Thus, traditional media can be identified as extremely impersonal due to the formalisation of delivering the message and has little influence on society. Ultimately, traditional media can be identified as influential towards society due to its trustworthiness.

The functionalist view can link to traditional media as society is held together by shared values and norms, if these values are not constantly reinstated then society will collapse. Society thrives on a common behaviour, our reaction to crime and what our expectation are. Whereby, Paul Lazarsfeld and Robert K. Merton (1948, cited in Charles R. Wright 1960) suggested that social control is strengthened by the mass communication from traditional media as it highlights deviant behaviour to society. They express that traditional media sets public standards of what is morally correct which influences societies behaviour. However, Lazerfeld and Merton argue that due to traditional media being influential it can result in society becoming panicked, whereby, certain stories are perceived to be more alarming than they are. However, The Guardian (10 April 2015) stated that within a year, newspaper sales fell by 7.6%. This shows that traditional media is currently having a reduced effect on influencing society as more people are now accessing news online.

Rise of Social Media Impact

Alternatively, social media refers to the notion of sharing information and interacting using web-based communication such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. It can be expressed as effectively creating an impression of personal relationships. Daniel M. Romero et al (2010) identified this through the notion of accepting and requesting friends on Facebook, as well as following celebrities on Twitter in which, people can see directly what celebrities have ‘tweeted’, not through newspaper headlines that have been adapted, taken out of context and have bias selection. Therefore, social media allows people to be influenced by others due to direct insight to what celebrities have stated and thus, they feel they have a closer connection to the broadcaster. Sitaram Asur et al (2010) outlined that twitter, among other social media sites, can reach audiences immediately due to phones being portable which allows news to be checked at any time and anywhere throughout the day. According to The Statistics Portal, in 2019 around 2.77 billion people around the world use social media, this emphasises that information can reach an audience instantly resulting in people being better informed. Yet, this can have a negative influence on society due to fake news. Trisha Dowerah Baruah (2012) outlined that social media enables a mass sharing of information as well as bringing people closer together. Nevertheless, social media has resulted in loss of shared cultural experiences whereby, Bagdasaryan (2011, cited in Guo-Ming Chen, 2012) believes that social media leads to gaps between various cultures in which, people are interacting with others from different cultures through different methods. This emphasises the notion that social media enables people to access specialist knowledge groups and thus, people attach themselves to small groups with certain knowledge and shared experiences with many individuals. However, this has reduced common culture and less opportunity to collectively moralise. Thus, social media is influential towards adolescents due to constant interactivity with others.

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Various sociologists have examined the effects of social media to the extent that it is based upon self-presentation. Bourdieu (1984, cited in Dhiraj Murthy, 2012) expressed that social media is used as a tool for self-affirmation. This means that people use social media to sustain their identity and keep themselves current through modern-day methods by updating their ‘status’ or posting a ‘tweet’. Additionally, Goffman (1981 cited in Dhiraj Murthy, 2012) outlined that society's interaction with social media relate to one’s ego, whereby, it is significant to recognizing self-production. This is highly influential towards teenagers as BBC News (10 February 2018) reported that certain social media sites were likely to cause anxiety and insufficiency within teenagers. Social media can influence teenagers’ moods in which, Instagram was found to make seven in ten teens feel inferior regarding body image.

Works Cited

  1. Bulmer, J. G., McLeod, J. M., & Rice, R. E. (2009). Television and Political Life: Studies in Six European Countries. Springer Science & Business Media.
  2. Fulcher, J., & Scott, J. (2011). Sociology. Oxford University Press.
  3. Kitts, B., Pardue, M., Reiley, D. H., & Warkentin, M. (2010). Electronic Media Management. Routledge.
  4. Murthy, D. (2012). Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age. John Wiley & Sons.
  5. Statistics Portal. (2019). Number of social media users worldwide from 2010 to 2023. Retrieved from
  6. The Guardian. (2015). Newspaper circulation. Retrieved from
  7. BBC News. (2018). Instagram 'worst for young mental health'. Retrieved from
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Cite this Essay

Social Media vs Traditional Media: Impact on Society. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from
“Social Media vs Traditional Media: Impact on Society.” GradesFixer, 31 Aug. 2023,
Social Media vs Traditional Media: Impact on Society. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Feb. 2024].
Social Media vs Traditional Media: Impact on Society [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 31 [cited 2024 Feb 24]. Available from:
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