There has been a revolution in information flow over the past few years, one that requires changes in the way we gather and use information. Traditional methods remain and cannot be ignored as some would desire, but emerging resources must be factored into any information hunt. Moreover the differences between the two must be understood.
While traditional information flows from limited media types such as the press, print, radio and television media, in the emerging information age there are many additional media types. These additional ones are often digital, portable and instantly available in contradistinction to the traditional ones.
Traditional media tended to be professionally produced; emerging media contain raw, unedited messages that are often produced by non-professionals. As a result, emerging media sources are unmediated in comparison to the more scripted, controlled, and even sanctioned messages of the traditional media. While the messages in emerging media are often produced by people whose identity and agenda are unclear at the best, and often unknown, the identity and agenda of those publishing in traditional considered reliable by many.
Traditional media generally rely on a formalized one-to-many standard whereas emerging media are almost conversational in tone and use a many-to-many formulation.
Using and understanding either traditional or emerging media requires a thorough knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of both – and an ability to differentiate between them in the real world, in real-time.