Mass media being replaced by social streams of information

I describe myself as a media guy who turned B2B tech marketer as traditional media dies. It started when I wrote my masters thesis about the question who needed television channels anymore with high definition YouTube and hulu.com like sites around. Later I gave up my own [static] website in favor of a blog and LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook streams.

I don’t have a TV set, don’t listen to radio nor do I have subscriptions of any print media. These days I even search via Google less often than I search Twitter’s real-time stream for certain key words or click on links in the stream Facebook puts together from all my “friends”.

Thomas Baekdal (@baekdal) from baekdal.com put these trends in a great graphic and wrote a blog post on April 27, 2009:

http://www.baekdal.com

“[…]

2007 – Me too

3 years later the social element if the internet showed just how powerful the voice of the people really is. The TV was [for] the first time no longer the primary source of information, and newspapers are struggling to survive.

Everyone wanted to create their own little world, and connect it with their friends. But 2007 was also the turning point for the traditional websites. It was once the most important change, but now people compared the traditional websites to newspapers – a static and passive form of information. We wanted active information. We wanted to be a part of it, not just looking at it.

The blogs also started to get in trouble. Just as TV had eliminated radio (because it was better and richer way to give people LIVE information) so are social networks eliminating blogs. A social profile is a more active way for people to share what they care about. Social networks are simply the best tool for the job, and the blogs could not keep up.

2009 – Everything is Social

2 years later, today, the new internet is completely dominating our world. The newspapers are dead in the water, and people are watching less TV than ever. The new king of information is everyone, using social networking tools to connect and communicate.

Even the traditional website is dying from the relentless force of the constant stream of rich information from the social networks.

In the past 210 years we have seen an amazing evolution of information. We could:

  • Get information from distant places
  • Get it LIVE
  • See it LIVE
  • Get to decide when to see something, and what to see
  • Allow us to take part, and comment.
  • Publish our own information
  • …and in 2009… be the information.

But 2009 is also going to be the start of the next revolution. Because everything we know is about to change.

The Future

The first and most dramatic change is the concept of Social News. Social news is quickly taking over our need for staying up-to-date with what goes on in the world. News is no longer being reported by journalists, now it comes from everyone. And it is being reported directly from the source to you – bypassing the traditional media channels. […]

But social news is much more than that. It is increasingly about getting news directly from the people who [make] it. Instead of having a journalist reporting what some analyst are saying, you hear it from the analyst […]. Social news is about getting news from the source, directly, and unfiltered.

A new wave of entertainment is emerging […], one dominated by the games, video and audio streams. Instead of tuning into a TV channel, you decide what to see and when to see it. We are no longer subscribing to a channel, where someone else decides what you can see. You decide and control everything about the experience.

And a new concept in the form of targeted information is slowly emerging. We are already seeing an increasing number of services on mobile phones, where you can get information for the area that you are in. E.g. instead of showing all the restaurants in the world, you will only get a list of the restaurants in your area.

This is something that is going to explode into in the years to come. In the world where we have access to more information that we can consume, getting only the relevant parts is going to be a very important element. And, this will expand far beyond the simple geo-targeting that we see today.

2020 – Traditional is dead

In the next 5-10 years, the world of information will change quite a bit. All the traditional forms of information are essentially dead. The traditional printed newspapers no longer exists, television in the form of preset channels is replaced by single shows that you can watch whenever you like. Radio shows [are being] replaced [by] podcasts and vodcasts.

The websites have a much lesser role, as their primary function will be to serve as a hub for all the activities that you do elsewhere. It is the place where people get the raw material for use in other places. And the websites and social networks will merge into one. Your website and blog is your social profile.

Social news, as described previously, is going to be the most important way that people communicate. The traditional journalistic reporting is by now completely replaced getting information directly from the source. Everyone is a potential reporter, but new advances in targeting will eliminate most of the noise. The journalists will turn into editors who, instead of reporting the news, bring it together to give us a bigger picture.

The news stream of the future will be personalized to each individual person, and is constantly adjusting what you see – much the same way as Last.fm is doing today with music.

Everything will incorporate some form of targeting. You will be in control over every single bit of information that flows your way.

In 2010, two new concepts will start to emerge. One of them is intelligent information, where information streams can combine bits from many different news sources. Not just by pulling data, but summarizing it, breaking it apart and extracting the valuable parts.

Instead of reading 5 different articles on the same topic, you will be presented with one, highlighting the vital point of interest.

The world information is also going to be available almost everywhere. The concept of having to get the paper, sit in front of your TV, or look at your computer, will be long gone. Information will not be something you have to get. It comes to you, wherever you are, in whatever situation you happen to be in.

In the same way, information will not be something you ‘consume’ a certain times – like you did with prime-time on TVs. The information stream will be a natural part of every second of your life. It is not something you get, it is something you have.

The static and controlled forms of information that we see today will soon be a thing of the past.

Get ready!

Ask yourself. Are you still trying to get journalists to write about your products? Are you still making websites? Is your social networking strategy to ‘get a Facebook Page’?

…or…

Are you making yourself a natural part of people’s stream of information?”

With this great thought I would like to hand it over to Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) and April Dunford (@aprildunford) with the blog post “What Marketers can Learn from Chris Brogan’s ‘Next Media Company'” from rocketwatcher.com:

“Chris Brogan is a social media marketing smarty-pants.  There are a lot of folks out there (in marketing especially) that bill themselves as “Social Media Experts” because, like, they use Facebook a lot, but Chris, my friends is the real deal.  If you don’t read his blog you should and following him on Twitter is great because he interacts with everyone.

His latest post “The Next Media Company” is a must-read for anyone thinking about what social media means for traditional media and communications in general and that mean YOU, dear marketing readers.  In it he outlines a set of characteristics that he believes the next generation of media companies should have. Here are a few points I have picked out that I think are really important for marketers to think about:

  • Stories are points in time, but won’t end at publication. (Edits, updates, extensions are next.)
  • Media cannot stick to one form. Text, photos, video, music, audio, animation, etc are a flow.
  • Everything must be portable and mobile-ready. (Mobile devices need to evolve here, too).
  • Everything must have collaborative opportunities. If I write about a restaurant, you should have wikified access to add to the article directly.
  • Contributors come in many shapes: onstaff, partner (how pros like TechCrunch link to Washington Post), guest (for love and glory only), and conversational come right to mind. Who else?
  • Collaboration rules. Why should I pick the next cover? Why should my picture of the car crash be the best?
  • Everything is modular and linkable. Everything is fluid. Meaning, if I want the publication to be a business periodical, then I don’t want to have to read a piece about sports.

Now go back and think about your company website, your marketing materials, your customer facing information in any form.  How much of that is interactive/collaborative/fluid?  How much of your customer facing communications crosses media types?  How much of it is mobile-ready?  Is all of your customer-facing content being created inside the organization?  Do you make your customers read a bunch of stuff that isn’t relevant to them, just to get at the bits that are?  Do you collaborate with your customers?

If you are in marketing, you are in the communications business and the way we are communicating is changing, in my opinion, for the better.  The next great marketing company is going to be thinking a lot about the same things the next media company is thinking about.”

Read this blog post on rocketwatcher.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s