Old Media. New Tricks.

Archive for October 2008

More than 8.5 Million Canadians have a Facebook account.  23 Million Canadians have access to the internet.

In other words, 1/3 of Canadian internet users are easily found in one place.

Facebook is more than just a social network, a place to find old school friends.  For many it has become the internet.  There is no need to go to any other page than Facebook.

On Facebook they can share photos.  They can instant message.  They can interact and comment on each other’s posts and status.  They can join groups and manage calendars for events.  They check email. They can read news and posted links from friends.

Think about it.

Facebook = Flickr = AIM = Twitter = Blogs = Forums = iCal = Email = RSS.

In other words, Facebook = Internet.

It’s great to be on the cutting edge, finding out about Twitter and blogs and vlogs and all sorts of social media tools, as Stephen Jagger discusses with the Vancouver Sun, but if you don’t stop and realize that the critical mass of internet users are just discovering Facebook and all that it can do, you’re missing the biggest piece of the pie.

People want the internet (and computers) to be like a toaster.  They want it to be easy to understand and they want it to “just work.”

That’s the angle Apple is taking with marketing their computers.  They just work. They’re easy. Not complicated.  In other words, Mac = Toaster.

Facebook works the same way.  Once you’re in that world, there is a huge community surrounding you with everything you need.  Why go to Flickr to share photos, when you can get them in your Facebook Feed?  Why go to Twitter to update your status, when the status is right there on Facebook?

Those deeply involved in social media will understand why Flickr is better than Facebook and why Twitter is better than Facebook, but the mass audience doesn’t have the time, energy or desire to seek that information out.

They want things to be easy, they want them to work.

For those in broadcasting, we can’t afford to get niche.  We need to find where the broad spectrum of users live, and hit them there.

For 8.5 Million Canadians, that’s Facebook.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

The New York Times is a newspaper.  Yet on their website, they have video and audio interviews.  They have taken their single media product and turned it into a multimedia web presence.

The radio station I work at, 95 Crave, is doing the same thing today. 

We are live at a mall doing a Madonnathon dance contest for Madonna tickets.  Radio stations do live, on site events all the time.  Usually to a small crowd. However, this event is being streamed online with a camera hooked in to a laptop over Ustream.

Your radio station probably already has a video camera. It already has a laptop.  Ustream is free.

A one dimensional event can become multimedia, and experienced by virtually your entire audience.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

Old media doesn’t get proper credit when word of mouth spreads the stories they break.

People say “I heard it on the news,” or “I read it in the paper,” or “I saw it on tv.” They credit the medium, but they don’t credit the actual source.

However, when a message is spread in new media, the source is an integral part of the sharing.

We don’t email someone to say we read about something. We send them the link.

When we blog, we don’t just randomly quote a news story, we link back to the original story.

The credit is given. The link is mentioned.

In new media, we don’t say “I heard it on the radio,” we say “I heard Buzz Bishop do an awesome interview with Robbie Williams and here’s the link.”

Many old media outlets don’t provide active links within their stories, even when writing about websites. If they would activate the links, bloggers would know when they’re mentioned and help publicize the story.

Many articles don’t have sharing functions attached to the stories allowing readers and listeners a chance to instantly add the story to their Stumblog, Facebook page, or Delicious bookmarks.

By not giving the audience the chance to share your content, you are creating a one dimensional online presence. One that is basically worthless.

By giving the audience the opportunity to share the message, you not only give the audience the chance to spread the message beyond your original reach, but you get credit for it.

Word of mouth is the most valuable advertising you can get, but is your brand the message, or is the medium getting all the credit?

catch the buzz … pass it on.

So often I have an idea or thought, but I don’t have the most eloquent way of presenting it.  I try, but I miss sometimes.

Minutes after posting the entry on Social Media and how MSM is mishandling it, I read Seth Godin.  He basically says the same thing, much more directly.

Yelling with gusto used to be the best way to advertise your wares. There was plenty of media and if you had plenty of money, you were set.

Today, of course, yelling doesn’t work so well.

What works is leading. Leading a (relatively) small group of people. Taking them somewhere they’d like to go. Connecting them to one another.

Go down the list of online success stories. The big winners are organizations that give tribes of people a platform to connect.

It’s so tempting to believe that we are merely broadcasters, putting together a play list and hurtling it out to the rest of the world. Louder is better. But we’re not. Now we’re leaders.

People want to connect. They want you to do the connecting.

[Seth Godin]

That better sums up my frustration with many mainstream media forays into twitter, facebook and blogs.  They are just using it as a different type of bullhorn.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

The Vancouver Sun has recently entered the Twittershpere.  However, like The Globe and Mail and the CBC before them, they’re using Twitter as an RSS feed syndicator, a different way to take headlines and publish them to the web.

They’re broadcasting the news.  Not micro blogging it, not interacting with readership, not sourcing stories.  They’re simply taking the headlines from articles, that in a web world are more than 8 hours old, and broadcasting them via twitter.

Dan Misener made note of an item on a list of things that newspapers still don’t understand about new media:

Hey news executives! Try this newsroom pop quiz: Give each staff member a pencil and tell everyone to stop what they’re doing and write out the tag that creates a hypertext link. If most can’t, you’re not spending enough on training. If anyone in your management team can’t, you’ve got a crisis.

[From 10 reasons why newspapers won’t reinvent news]

That sums it up.  Many old school media outlets are just using new media tools in the same way they used old media tools.  They’re just trying to spread their message in a new medium, but that’s now how it works.  It’s about conversation, it’s about sharing, it’s about communicating.

Kirk Lapointe, Managing Editor at the Vancouver Sun, blogs regularly about the interesection of new and old media, and uses twitter frequently as well, but .. he’s not involved in any conversations.  He just posts thoughts and tweets without engaging in any discussion with his readers.

Just like his newspaper shouts out headlines and links trying to get traffic without participating in the social web.

It’s a direct violation of what Gary Vee says about the best way to gain traffic on the internet.  Communicate.  Interact.  Socialize.  MSM using Twitter and blogs is about trying to engage the public in the style of new media, but you’ve got to use the tools the way they’re meant to be used, otherwise you just end up shouting at a wall.

Traffic to a web page or blog on the internet is equal to readership of a newspaper.  If you did traditional marketing and got no readers, it would be a failure.  The way many MSM outlets are using the social web and not engaging people will result in no traffic and, an epic FAIL.

catch the buzz … pass it on.