Jim Long - Digital Media and Culture

The False Choice of New Media OR Old Media

How about just calling it MEDIA? Sure, labels are useful, but at the end of the day there will be media that people connect with, and the unwatched, unread remains. There seems to be a renewed slugfest between the “revolutionaries” storming the gates of traditional media, and the keepers of corporate status quo. As both sides trade barbs, it’s curious to this blogger why the loudest amongst both sides of this “debate” promote such zero-sum theocracy.

From bloggersblog today, a link to this rant against blogs from South Africa’s Sunday Times, calling blogs “the air guitars of journalism” And from my favorite contrarian Strumpette, some snarky satire on the introduction of MLB’s “Citizen Player Program”

Chris Brogan lends his typically keen insight and measured criticisms to discussions that took place at AlwaysOn, Hollywood. His concerns that “we” (people who create media independent of large corporate infrastructure) are living in a fishbowl. Brogan then takes the informations he’s gathered and builds a very smart roadmap for moving beyond amateur media. Chris “gets it”…big time.

In almost no time, “talking about nothing” shows are going to dry up. You have to deliver value. In video, audio, and even a blog, if you want to bring your message into a larger circle of people, you’re going to have to give value back for what you’re doing.

Most of this discussion seems to be framed in an either/or construct, which I believe to be a false pretext. Those who believe that Web 2.0, social media, and citizen content will completely evaporate are wrong, just as wrong as those who believe that the democratization of media spells the demise of large corporate media. What I see happening is that the “amateurs” are building relationships with their audience, and with corporate media. There, you’ll find the winners. Don’t believe me? Then why are guys like Jeff Jarvis having dinner with Rupert Murdoch and making deals with Washingtonpost.com?

For those of you who believe that bloggers don’t have juice, how do you reconcile CNN’s decision to release Presidential debate footage under a Creative Commons license? Clearly they were bowing to the outcrys of the “air guitar” players of the blogoshpere.

Much of what is taking place in social media space is all about buzz, and in-the-moment, viral types of content. This is the type of media that I believe will be the shortest-lived. They are also easy targets for critics as the sum-total of ALL new/social media. The below-the-radar people in this space are sometimes the most successful. At VON07 in San Jose, I met Nicholas Butterworth of Diversion Media. His firm has built two successful social media sites, Travelistic and Snowvision. Butterworth says that the key to social media success is community and relationship.


Click To Play


Coverage of VON07

Butterworth, and other micro media moguls like Zadi Diaz and Steve Woolf of Jetset are defining a new class of crossover talent. Media makers who understand the community nature of social media/Web 2.0 and have the business savvy to grasp the value of that community. The fact that they’ve partnered with Next New Networks demonstrates that savvy and sets them apart from the “air guitar” set. Amani Channel of My Urban Report is another example of new media being courted by old. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has expressed interest publishing content from his blog. Again, the gates aren’t being stormed so much as being opened by smarter old media firms.

The bottom line is that the marketplace will decide the winners and losers of traditional vs. social media. I’d keep an eye on the ones creating value for their communites and the ones who build tools for participation.

  • http://overtonecomm.blogspot.com/2006/06/trusting-stakeholders-home-depot-gets.html Kami Huyse

    I am so with you on this one. I think that the “X is dead” memes are self-serving at best and totally nonconstructive. I do believe that the mediums will change and evolve to fill a need. I think that the need to classify comes from the idea that there is a stark difference between the paid and unpaid “media.” However, I find that even this line is starting to blur, as you have outlined above. The key is answering the question, “who is the gatekeeper.” The answer is much more complicated than it used to be. (BTW, it is liberating to be out of 140 characters here)

  • http://banannie.com/blog Annie Boccio

    The people who are lining up on either “side” are in the minority, I think. Some in the old media sector are probably afraid of the unknown and what it might mean to their careers, some in new media are anxious to gain a place of power and influence and see old corporate media as a blockade to that.

    But over time I think you’re right, it will all mesh in new and interesting ways, with both sides benefiting.

  • http://jonnygoldstein.com jonny goldstein

    I’m with you a million percent. In order to provide value, a “show about nothing” has to actually be about something—like entertaining the heck out of people a-la Seinfeld.

    One of the things that excites me is the idea that people can provide value to small circles of friends with minimal effort, just like sharing snapshots. That’s nano media, baby.

  • http://spaceygreview.blogspot.com/2007/04/life-during-wartime.html SpaceyG

    It’s all about bringing down the barricades and blurring the line now: in media, politics, entertainment, etc. I just had an editor of a major daily send me this message:

    “I want to get more pieces in from the blogging community – there are a lot of good writers out there.”

    Wow! Took him a while, but he gets it. As for politics, I love that some Red bloggers are blogging for Blue blogs, and vice versa now. I for one just went “front page” with a right-leaning blog here in Georgia. Yikes! (People do need someone to revile in their lives.)

    But as I like to say, “Let’s blur the lines; let Diebold sort it out.”

  • Pingback: Urban Living()

  • http://joesvideoetc.blogspot.com joec

    People do love to argue as though things must be either-or, black-or-white, don’t they?

    What I try to tell people about Old and New Media is simply that one is not a substitute for the other. Each fills a need that the other cannot. So, there is a place for both in the future, although it does mean inevitably that there will be less Old Media viewed.

    And, as you point out, both will change in response to the other. Will there ever be a complete merge? Maybe in certain cases, but certainly not across the board.

  • http://wrestilngmayhemshow.com Michael Sorg

    It does feel like some hippy anti-corporation junkies vs people finding their place somewhere in the media landscape. This marriage of corporations “figuring it out” was inevitable to their survival in the changing landscape.

  • http://www.vergnewmedia.com Jim Long

    Wow! great conversation extension here! Thank you all for fleshing out conversation.

  • Pingback: Beach Walk #439 - Take a Blogger to Work()

  • Pingback: Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media » More Sunday squibs()

  • Pingback: Beach Walk #439 - Take a Blogger to Work()

  • http://dmscr.com/ivanbldt.html Rosetta Eaton

    good luck

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE