Monthly Archives: September 2009

4 Headlines and a Funeral (?)

If you’re not believing we’re living in an evolving media landscape, take a look at the top four headlines from MediaDailyNews this fine Tuesday morning:
Way back at the end of last year, I made a resolution to be positive in 2009 because I was foreseeing through all of the doom and gloom of the old guard and the snarkiness of the new guard ample opportunity to drive towards the real changes I’ve seen in fits and spurts throughout my career in media.  Substantive, relevant change that wasn’t just driven by ‘testing’ things or developing neat-o technologies and apps that fizzle on follow through, but that was driven by the way people are using and adapting to media technology and marketers and media companies stepping up to fill the need.
So, four headlines like the above warm my heart.
As for the funeral, having sat in some interesting presentations from some forward thinking magazine publishers, I’m not so sure we can be quick to assume their demise is imminent.  I don’t believe that e-readers are their salvation, mind you.  But I do believe, as a marketer, that the equity built into the brands – not into the dead tree media pages they print – can be used in a way to extend their relevance to their loyal users.
Kind of like purveyors of locally relevant stories realizing that, though they may have missed the boat on the computer-based Internet, they should be focusing big plans on mobile devices.
Will either succeed?  Perhaps I’ll prognosticate along those lines in another post.  As for now, I’m just trying to stay true to my resolution.
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Containers vs. Extensions of Man & Social Protocols and Practices

Some five or more years ago, I was lucky enough to be able to here John Perry Barlow speak in a very intimate environment at my former place of employment about the future of music (not the past of writing for The Dead, but the future).  Barlow spoke vociferously about the future of music – of all media, for that matter – not being one of containers ('shiny disks' I believe was what he said). In his pointed estimation, even using the then emerging phrase 'Content is King' was too limiting and implied containment of media. People do not want, nor should they be subjected to, limitations when it comes to experiencing their media.

Another free thinker from Barlow's Dead era, Marshall McLuhan (philosopher/media theorist/Lizard King?), famously asserted that 'The medium is the message', in a book called 'Media: Extensions of Man.' Contain that…

Historian Lisa Gitelman defines media not just as something that allows for communication (an often times forgotten tenet for those involved in planning or influencing media allocation decisions), but also the social and cultural protocols and practices surrounding the technology.  "Consumption" of something from a "container" is just not a valid descriptor of what media is, what people want and expect from it, or, for that matter, how they use it.
 
When I get frustrated w/ discussions about should we place our media in this container or that, here or there, now or then, I find comfort in this higher level thinking about what media is, what people expect of it, and the ways people really use it.  I don't know that I've known a human being (not in the marketing/media industry) to say, "I'm disappointed I didn't see an ad or get an experience from Acme today' or 'Hey, its a few weeks before an important time of the year – why am I not seeing ads or getting experiences from Acme?"
 
(Note – really only a certain type of human in the marketing/media industry would wonder about "getting an experience" – and there aren't many of us – but at least that's an evolution of consuming something in a container just for the sake of consuming it.)
 
Really key to keep in mind when I'm frustrated is something Henry Jenkins said in Convergence Culture: "The old paradigms were breaking down faster than the new ones were emerging, producing panic among those most vested in the status quo and curiosity in those who saw change as opportunity."
 
And now, back to "Be the change you want to see in this world" (Gandhi, of course) because those old paradigms are still breaking down faster than the new ones are emerging, and someone has to be there to drive things forward once it's obvious the way of the old paradigms are no longer applicable. 
 
It's exciting work, I'm very curious, I'm all about driving change…and I had a New Year's resolution to remain positive in the midst of the change I assumed would be more destabilizing than normal in this particular unstable year of change. 
 
Yours in trying not to rant,
 
Jc

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