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Madonna skips traditional media and launches her new CD, MDNA, via a live Facebook chat on her fan page, with host Jimmy Fallon. The entire chat then aired on her official YouTube channel. When Fallon asked, “Why are you opting to do an interview with me as opposed to the traditional media?”  Madonna simply stated, “Thought it would be best to talk to my fans and not journalists.”

What does this say about traditional media and its future? Madonna has over nine million fans on Facebook and her rival Lady Gaga has more than 51 million fans. The numbers are staggering. They beat the combined viewing audiences and readership of traditional news outlets. This past January Nielsen Company released its prime time ratings report which revealed a combined viewership of 35 million for CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC, while national newspaper readership totaled five million with subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today.

As a PR professional I am keenly aware of these numbers, as are my clients. What will traditional media do to catch-up to the “nextwork”, as brilliantly stated by Brian Solis.  Should traditional media tap into the “fan based world” which Madonna and Lady Gaga have successfully done? While many traditional media outlets are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others social channels, how are they engaging their audiences beyond their traditional reach. How will they cultivate communities in the age of digital nextworks? Will their print assets remain?  And if they are to remain, how will they find unique ways to engage their communities, aka advertisers and audiences?

It’s an exciting time to be in marketing public relations. Of course, your comments and opinions are always welcome.