Response #1

Is there such a thing as a virgin blog posting?  I feel like this is mine…

For my Social Media class, I am to blog several times over the course of the semester on various topics.  While I’m excited at the prospect of becoming an “expert” blogger by April, I’m equally excited to see how I progress from Response #1 through Response #15 when it’s all said in done. 

For my first posting, I will be commenting on Gillmor’s book, We the MediaThe most interesting aspect of Gillmor’s book is the consequences the collision of journalism and technology are having on many constituencies (journalists, newsmakers, audiences).  Can one imagine where we might be – or wouldn’t be – if Berners-Lee patented his HTML invention in 1991?   We may have no online media, no internet shopping, no web-based email – just to name a few of what seems to be important to us right now.   Thankfully, it was not patented, and we’re able to now have the fun that we have online, including using the bottom-up approach as it relates to the media and company marketing.  However, as Gillmor pointed out, “we are still in a top-down mode [big media] and don’t realize that the conversation is more important than our pronouncements.” 

Same goes for Big Business – also referenced by Gillmor.  I agree with his assertion we’re still in a top-down mentality.  In my professional opinion, business/marketers are still trying to “target” us as customers.  #74 in the Cluetrain Manifesto, states we are immune to advertising.  Just forget it.”  And, my simple favorite, “Markets want to talk to companies.”  Media agencies (CNN, MSNBC) are now doing online blogs – so should companies.  I’m not sure why the majority of companies continue to make those pronouncements, rather than sparking conversations to hear from their “target customers.” 

However, as with anything, the execution must be flawless.  In a somewhat-recent example of a futile attempt by a company to start those conversations was Ford Motor Company’s “Bold Moves” campaign.  While the idea itself was brilliant (for 2005), the execution was seriously flawed.  Ford launched a website where customers were able to see inside the company – and their decision-making process.  The idea was contrived to show customers how far the company has come in its turnaround plan, and ultimately, prove that the “American Icon” was on track to be successful again.  The company would give a first-hand look inside the company, and “customers” would comment, but ultimately the idea fell flat when nobody at Ford posted comments back to the customers.  So, the idea of two-way dialogue with the consumer was lost.

But, I believe both media and big business are finally starting to get it, some albeit slowly.  I sit and think about the differences between watching network versus cable news, i.e. CBS Evening News vs. CNN Election Coverage.  While they may be both catering to a different clientele, it appears the networks are shunning new generations with their blue-haired news reporting.  Has Katie Couric ever mentioned the word “blog”, or “text message” in a newscast?   Not to discredit her news-reporting ability, but someone like myself is more inclined to be attracted to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer who reports about iVideo, or CNN blogging, etc. 

It’s a very interesting world in which we live as it relates to technology, media, and its future.  In the words of Gillmor, “your voice matters.  Now, if you have something worth saying, you can be heard.”  Let’s just hope the news media and big business believe this.


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