Social Media vs Traditional Media: Understanding the Differences - Social Media Explorer
Social Media vs Traditional Media: Understanding the Differences
Social Media vs Traditional Media: Understanding the Differences

The latest research suggests that people spend an average of 142 minutes per day browsing social media. By the same token, adults spend nearly five hours per day interacting with TV or radio.

Why do we love our media so much? And in the war between social media vs traditional media, who comes out on top?

We’ve got the answers you’re after, so keep reading to find out!


Social scientist Marshall McLuhan used to posit what he referred to as a “global village.” According to McLuhan, the global village would connect people around the world, virtually eliminating boundaries and borders.

For the most part, McLuhan seemed spot on!

According to a report put out by Hootsuite earlier this year, about 3.484 billion people have a social media account. For reference, they also note that the globe’s total population is 7.676 billion.

Think about that for a moment. With the click of a button, we have the power to interact with people across the world.

Suffice to say, that’s an experience that traditional media can’t offer.


Ah, advertising. It’s one of the sole reasons why media exists in the first place.

So how do social media ads and traditional media ads differ? Primarily in the ways in which they target their users.

Take traditional media, for instance. There are plenty of magazines with ads that match the magazine’s demographic. Likewise, TV advertisers buy up time during the times of day that their customers are most likely watching.

So how does social media handle advertising? By taking things a step further to learn more about your interests.

Every time you browse a site, something known as a cookie is installed on your browser. The cookie tracks your activity to see what pages you spend the most time on, what you click on, and other sites you visit.

Then, that data gets sent back to advertisers who use that data to create advertisements attuned to your interests and place them on sites you’re known to visit.


There’s something zen about browsing through your social feeds. It’s an endless list of updates on the things and people that matter most to you.

That’s something that you just can’t get with traditional media.

Sure, you can peruse through a magazine. But at some point, you’ll run out of pages. You can rest assured that every time you refresh your Facebook page, you’ll see at least one new post.

And we haven’t even mentioned things like comments, and likes or retweets. With social media, users can provide direct and almost instant feedback.

In traditional media, you can call into a radio show or write a letter to an editor. But these communications are far more asynchronous. It could be months before you get a response.

With social media, that figure is more like minutes.

Social Media vs Traditional Media: The Biggest Differences

It’s fascinating to examine the differences between social media vs traditional media. Both still play an important role in news, entertainment, and even socialization.

Yet at the end of the day, it’s hard to disagree that social media simply offers more — for better or worse.

Want to learn more about the world of social media? Be sure to check back with our blog for more great content like this!

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About the Author

Adam is an owner at Nanohydr8. He really loves comedy and satire, and the written word in general.

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