Tag Archives: new media

just a tweet

The twittersphere is all a-twitter about a company suing a woman for $50,000 over one of her tweets. The offending tweet from @abonnen to her 20 followers was:

…who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.

Most reactions to the news seem to be centered around the idea of “it’s just a tweet / lighten up”.

OK. Using that same mindset, then…

  • United Breaks Guitars is just a YouTube video.
  • ComcastMustDie is just a blog.
  • #MotrinMoms is just a hashtag

If we’re all going join hands in a circle and get weepy over the fact that “everyone is now a publisher”, then everyone is now accountable to established publishing laws. This tweet may violate a little one called libel.

Ask yourself this: If a newspaper or TV station reported without justification that a local landlord condoned their tenants sleeping in mold infested apartments, would the company be justified in suing the media outlet? If you think so, then how is “new media” different than “old media”?

I have no idea (and don’t care) about the specifics of this case. Maybe @abonnen was sleeping in a petri dish. Maybe the company was attacked unfairly. (although I do find it hard to side with any company that describes it’s business philosophy as “sue first and ask questions later“)

But here’s the big point that everyone needs to think about. We’re going to have to decide does consumer generated media mean “fundamental groundbreaking change” or “just a tweet”?

mass media will never win on the web

Or at least they won’t think they’re winning because they’re still using the same yardstick for success that they’ve used for decades.

With broadcast and print media, success is measured in numbers with lots of zeroes on the end — both in terms of audience and cash.

Meanwhile, true success on the web is measured in (sometimes small) dedicated audiences.

The long tail does not fit the mass media model — in terms of audience or revenue. And yet, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and every other form of mass media have been trying to cram their square hole mass media model into a round online hole ever since the mid-90’s.

And they’ve been sitting in sackcloth and ashes since the start — lamenting that the web is taking over and they can’t replace the shrinking offline audience with a new online audience. And they worry that the old fistful of advertising dollars won’t follow that audience.

And they’re right. That audience and those ad dollars are gone. And the faster that mass media outlets stop trying to make those old models work, the faster they will find success.

It’s not new. We’ve seen it before on a lesser scale. Some huge radio stars couldn’t translate into being big TV stars. The Andy Griffith Show was better in black and white. No one wanted to hear what silent movie actors sounded like. But there was huge success and massive revenue to be found in the new worlds of television and talkies — when people stopped trying to cram the old model into the new.

Mass media needs to stop thinking about how to make people “read newspapers online” or “watch the evening news online”. They need to take a fresh look at what they’re doing. What does an online audience look like and how do they want to consume your product online? They need to “stop broadcasting and start narrowcasting“.

mommy blog versus the big O

One of the 5 or so books that are in my head ready to be written is about the marketing power of Oprah.

It’s tentatively titled “The Oprah Effect” and it would look at the products/services/people that she has “touched”. The book would examine the marketing impact these things (both in her own empire and the things she endorses) have picked up from her and how businesses could achieve the Oprah effect without Oprah.

(Aside: It’s the one book in my head that I won’t write without a good publisher behind me. So if you’re a good publisher or know one — it’s chris AT shotgunconcepts dot com)

Anyway — because of the potential of the book, I monitor what’s going on with the “O” probably more than is healthy for a 30-something male.

Here’s something that I’ve noticed in the past couple of weeks. Oprah has supposedly participated in a 21 day cleanse where you purge caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten and animal products from your diet. She has endorsed it through her media channels and even blogged (I think with a ghostblogger) while she did it.

Ah. The blog. While Oprah is the queen of traditional media, she is not the queen of new media. I think Heather is. (Dooce currently has over 9200 comments on one post. She’s running a contest, but still.)

Heather started the cleanse at Oprah’s beckoning and she and her friend got sick because of the cleanse. (Apparently, your body needs toxins. Pass the nacho cheese, please.)

So you have the world’s most powerful woman endorsing something that the world’s most powerful female blogger got deathly ill doing. Who will win? Traditional or new media?

tuned in minority

It has struck me in the last few days how “in-tune” an internet reader is as opposed to the masses that get fed by the 24 hour news cycle.

I started noticing the Killer Tomato scare in the mainstream media and on hastily written signs at restaurants on Sunday. However, I already knew about it from a Nashville veggie lover on the Wednesday before.

Articles of impeachment were introduced in the House against President Bush on Monday night. Have you seen it on your cable news channel or in the newspaper yet? (caveat: there’s a tad bit of hype to it)

I read about the US strike in Pakistan this morning on the web. I consumed several types of traditional media today before I heard about it on the radio coming home this afternoon.

And I notice this happens over and over. People get in a tizz over something and I’m wondering why because I read about it a few days ago. Or I have started to notice that memes on the web will get picked up by the yucksters on the cable and network news shows a few days after they’ve fizzled online.

Here’s the thing — I am in the minority. (and if you’re reading this, you probably are too). The great sages who are saying the time is NOW that EVERYONE is getting news/info off the web apparently haven’t been talking to people in the real world. Everyone is not uploading videos and commenting on blogs. There’s a time gap (and sometimes a plain lack) of knowledge as it’s disseminated on the web and then through traditionally media.

Because of this, even though it’s egalitarian, the knowledge on the web comes with a heavy bias. It’s leaning toward those tuned-in consumers who are generating the some of the content and who are in the minority. The results don’t pan out in the real world. Don’t believe me? Ask Ron Paul.

Of course, the traditional media comes with its own long standing biases and the need to perpetuate its business model. But traditional media is not dead. It’s just slow and bloated. And the masses are even slower consumers of it.

So there’s opportunity for all here. The traditional media can start working to feed the hummingbird minority consumers. And the web can start bringing more of the lumbering hippos into the fold. They’ll either meet in the middle or one will crush the other.

print publishing and online

Mitch Joel has some insight from this NAA report about the print publishing business. The report focuses on the positive numbers that newspaper websites are racking up. While at the same time, newspapers are covered in sackcloth and ashes about their print products. Mitch makes an excellent point here:

Print publications need to embrace the new reality that they have become Multimedia Publications. The big wins are not going to happen by putting their print materials online. The big wins are going to happen when stories are extended leveraging the true power of the online channel – that would be by adding more images, video, audio and interaction into the fray. And, if they’re smart, extending the ability to create content as well.

This seems obvious. But even at this very moment, the offices of newspapers, magazines, radio/TV stations, and other traditional media are full of people who:
1) don’t understand this
2) don’t want to understand this
3) are afraid of this
4) feel that they are already on the cutting edge just by replicating their content online
5) are so caught up in a traditional stylebook of the “way things ought to be” that they are actively fighting online ventures

But, with all things, moderation. While I wholeheartedly agree that a media outlet needs to develop and nurture an online presence that goes beyond the abilities of their traditional counterparts, there also needs to be a master plan for both. Both the online and print editions of a newspaper or magazine need to work on a SINGLE brand strategy and need to push readers from the print to online and vice versa.

And then, there’s a vast silent majority of media outlets when it comes to online. Too many times the analysis of media focuses on a few major national media examples (who SHOULD be on the cutting edge online). The true tipping point for online media will be the vast number of regional and local outlets — many that have little or no web presence.

While national media (major magazines & newspapers, broadcast networks, etc) are just now starting to really fully embrace the online product, there are thousands of local media outlets who are drastically behind the times. I was interviewed on Friday for a publishing company’s newsletter. The interviewer actually asked me if I thought it was important for a newspaper to have a website. My response was: if a newspaper didn’t have a website in 2008, they had already missed the boat.

And let’s also remember one of the major points of the relationship between a traditional print audience and an online product. Column inches bring in more money than pixels. If the traditional print product is providing content and subsidizing the operation of the online edition, there has to be a point where the financial model changes to meet the readership and content distribution model. And for many media properties, that will be a painful transition.

old media

There’s lots of buzz about today’s news of the FCC relaxing media ownership rules.

Five or ten years ago, I would have been incensed about the decision. If you look back in time, you’ll see that every time the FCC “relaxes” the rules, monopolistic control of the media takes a big leap. And I’m sure this time will be no exception.

However, with today’s news, I really could care less. And this decision only affects the top 20 markets. Small markets are ignored. Big whoop.

Five or ten years ago, traditional media were still the only real game in town. Monopolies needed to be avoided. It was a sacred privilege and responsibility to own a transmitter or a printing press. That immense power needed to be spread out.

But today, everyone is the media. One of my big money quotes in my speaking engagements is that now everyone owns a printing press through the publishing power of the web. You’re reading my latest edition right now.

I’m fascinated with how traditional media are struggling with the rapid changes that continue to pop up. They’re moving in slow motion. And they’re wasting time arguing about things that are secondary to the threat that’s facing them.

It’s almost like the horse buggy manufacturers arguing with each other while Model T’s zip by outside.

The danger is that I don’t think “new media” is ready to take over the watchdog responsibility from old media. There’s not enough experience there. There’s no accountability. And there’s a lack of legitimacy from the powers-that-be. (A blogger and a newspaper reporter ask for an exclusive interview with the mayor — who do you think gets it?)

There will be (and already is) a major backlash about this FCC decision. But it’s a waste of time. It’s not about who owns the pipes or how many pipes they own in any market. It’s not about who owns transmitters and printing presses.

Today, it’s about who owns the content that the masses want to consume. And they don’t care how it’s delivered to them.