Do you use social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, in preference to offline media such as newspapers, magazines and television? There are quite a few discussions as to whether these relatively new platforms are making it difficult for the offline world.

The president of CNN has put fuel to the fire. Jonathan Klein has made a number of statements concerning this. He points out, rightly, that his (that is CNN’s) main competition is social networking platforms. He is correct that there is a possibility that visitors might move from traditional news media towards online social interactive media.

You see, traditionally we have trusted favored places such as the major news networks. We don’t always agree with their interpretations of events or their political stance but we by-and-large trust them to provide us with a degree of impartiality in the world of news and events.

The problem is that you will trust your friend also. If a pal tells you that a particular film or book is good to watch or read then you are likely, all things being equal, to believe them or, at least, to check it out. If a friend tells you the latest news story or relays some major event then you are like minded to believe that too.

This news (and other happenings) are brought to us via places like Facebook and Twitter and then repositioned to be distributed throughout our fans and followers. A proportion of people might like to check things out a bit more – who ever took Michael Jackson’s death at face value? – but many of us are just as likely to think “oh well” or “that is interesting” and move on to something else.

So now, places like CNN are more likely to worry about social networking sites then they are their traditional rivals in the traditional media playpark. This is not least because there are vastly more people in the former spaces. People are influential.

There is more to this. Some of it is important and comes on the backend of recession hit businesses that have gone to the wall. That is, can social networking sites become so powerful that they jeopardize the very existence of traditional media forms? There are many millions of videos uploaded to social sites each day, even more images, even more status updates.

It is not exactly a notion to dismiss. The president of CNN is certainly not doing so.