Soren Gordhamer works with individuals and groups on how to effectively use new technologies. He is the author of the book, Wisdom 2.0 and the organizer of the Wisdom 2.0 Conference. He is @SorenG on Twitter.
The most radical shift to media in recent years is that we now have a central real-time hub that serves to enhance every other content platform on the web. Sure, we could always use RSS for blogs, and sign up to follow a person’s activity on a video or photo sharing site, but used correctly, Twitter now provides a one-stop, real-time service for all of a person’s content. It allows us something that in the past only huge corporations could have: our own broadcasting network. If you’re on Twitter, and to a certain extent Facebook, you are in the broadcasting business.
Of course, real-time status sites like those very much depend on other services: YouTube and other video sharing sites, Flickr and photo sites, and WordPress, Blogger, and the rest are all important for publishing and hosting content. However, Twitter and its ilk provide the hub, the means of connecting all of one’s online activity to create a real-time, people-run and directed broadcasting network.
This is powerfully and significantly changing the nature of media.
1. Shared media: Not yours but our media
New media is increasingly becoming shared media. Though one person initially creates a tweet or links to a story, whatever you broadcast on your network, I can also broadcast too. On Twitter, of course, it is called retweeting. This is a huge shift in media.
Sure, in the past, you could always email or call a friend to inform him or her of a quality news story or TV show; now, however, in a matter of seconds you can share this information on your broadcasting network via Twitter or Facebook, with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people. It’s not my or your media anymore; it’s our media, and we can all broadcast it.
2. Power of the crowd: People pick the news
In the past, what people thought of as “news” was what was reported that day in the New York Times or CNN. In an age where we all possess our own broadcasting network, though, smaller stations have greater power. Of course, a post on Twitter from CNN, which has over two million followers, will get more views than one from Joe Smith who has 20 followers will, but Joe Smith is at least in the game now, where he was not previously.
In the new media landscape, the task of defining what is the news that matters to people lies less with a few major media outlets, and much more with the millions of small outlets like you and I who each choose what to talk about. Increasingly, lots of littles, in aggregate, are becoming more powerful than a handful of bigs.
3. Multiple streams: No one kind of content rules
In this new era, no one means of content rules. Text, pictures, videos, you name it, all can be shared via a site like Twitter. Sure, you post videos and photos elsewhere and link to them, but Twitter provides the hub to broadcast that media to consumers. Also, applications like Power Twitter are enhancing the Twitter experience so that rich media can be embedded and viewed right in one’s Twitter stream.
The focus is less on the type of content, and more on the quality of it.
4. Personal: Connections to people, not just content
Media is also becoming more personal. More and more people expect their broadcasting networks to be people with personalities, not simply sources of news. We want to know as much about the person reporting news as we do the news they are reporting. Broadcasting is more a personal act than ever, as users seek to have connections not just to content but to people.
This is happening at every level, from the small, citizen powered networks I talked about above, to the major mainstream media networks whose personalities are beginning to interact directly with viewers and readers on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
5. Interactive: Responding, Not Just Consuming
Who could have predicted that you could get into a discussion with a major news outlet about a story they posted or with a major celebrity about a movie they just acted in? Yet today, this happens everyday on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. People seek not only to consume media from broadcasting networks, but to also respond to the newsmakers, and Twitter, perhaps more than anywhere else, allows this. Our age is one of interactive broadcasting networks.
While all the various content sharing sites are useful, it helps to have a hub, a ring that ties them all together. The most obvious hub we have at our disposal today is Twitter, which acts as a central place where people can post or link to any and all content of their choosing, from a short thought to a blog post or video they created, to an article they have read.
It is this lack of restriction on the kind of content one shares, and the ability for people to follow one another to receive their updates, that has created the biggest and most profound change in media during our generation: giving each of us our own broadcasting network. Where we go from here no one knows, but so far it is pretty clear that this movement is making the world of media much less centralized, and much more people-driven. It is a different world: We are all broadcasters now and the new face of media, is you.