How Social Media Corrects Mass Media’s Flawed Messages

Friend Jeff Corbett’s appearance on CNBC’s On The Money program is a good example of how social media players are becoming fixtures in the mass media.

The problem Jeff faces in his interview is common with anybody who has interfaced with the soundbite nature of broadcast programming. The mass media understands its audience and will leverage specific themes to “hook” that audience. In Jeff’s case, the hook was evident in the title of his piece “Confessions of a Mortgage Industry Insider”, a relevant consumer topic. The broadcast media production protocol tapes an extensive interview and then condenses the final cut to a series of impact soundbites.

Jeff’s goal was to educate the consumer about the best ways to get a mortgage without getting caught in some of the “tricks of the trade”, but the piece focused solely on the tricks to the exclusion of the educational process. The feel came across tabloidish, which is obviously what consumer oriented On the Money is after. The program was not at all aligned with Jeff’s goal of showing the mortgage industry in a more positive light, and he explains this well in his post-production notes.

Jeff’s goals and character are honorable, and his social media presence allows him to explain his positions more clearly to consumers and mortgage professionals who are following up on the CNBC piece. This is the power of social media as an antidote to the soundbite agenda of mass media programming – the conversation is extended across a wider audience. Compare this to a few years ago, when misaligned messages are tragically hung out to dry and calcify in the minds of its viewers.

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email pkitano@gmail.com.

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