Well-connected, socially networked users like Techvibes readers may not realize it, but the vast majority of the population not only doesn’t know what tags, RSS feeds, or Flickr are, they aren’t making much of an effort to find out. In a column on Rabble.ca, Wayne MacPhail details how when he’s asked young media students at various Ontario colleges and universities if they use social media or other Web 2.0 technologies, silence is the dominant answer. MacPhail also notes that those users who are heavily engaged in online activity tend to see the world through the prism of their networks, and assume everyone else is as connected as they are, when in fact that simply isn’t the case.
I can personally vouch for what MacPhail is saying. Besides blogging, I’m also involved in “old media,” both in print and video production, and while there are notable exceptions, and certain technologies like Facebook tend to reach mass media status with everyone, many media insiders don’t bother, or don’t (as of yet) need to learn about podcasts, Twittering and del.ico.us. New media tends to write off the older mediums as dinosaurs, creating two camps of people who really should be connecting, but don’t. The only way this will actually change is when the money drifts from one medium to the other, which is already happening, even at a local level.