Tag Archives: internet

This is a General Statement About a General Phenomenon

  Do people actually believe what fortune cookies tell them? I’m not saying that the cookies are not filled with wise quotes or decent general advice for life. What I’m saying is, do these generalities actually apply? Let’s say you’re at a restaurant with some friends and you get a cookie saying, “clean your room and your mind will be clean for success.”  The cookie is not part of your life, it doesn’t know if your room is actually messy, or if you are all ready successful. To add to this, what if one of your friends gets that cookie and you had another. You would switch messages. In essence, you’re getting a premade statement that may or may not apply to you, but contains enough general advice that it should be able to connect with you. …and, in sum, that’s how I feel about predicting the future of news.

Let me elaborate my summed message. We know very little about the future. In the ’50s, people thought we’d have flying cars and cyborgs by now. WRONG! Predicting the future of such a dynamic entity is a near impossible task. Honestly, you might not even be able to predict what you’ll have for lunch tomorrow, much less the future of the entire news media.

There are 5 things we can say about news that is true for right now:

1, news online is instantaneous and accessible once the story breaks. No longer do we wait for the paper or the 6 o’clock broadcast. The reason television news successfully outperformed print had little to do with images and more to do with immediacy of news. Rather than wait until the next morning to read about what happened, people could hear about it at 5, 6, 10, 1030, and in the morning. Turner Broadcasting changed the understanding of television news blocks when they created CNN. CNN was the first 24 hour news programming and viewers could now watch when it fit their schedule, instead of when the news broadcast or was print. This translated easily to the internet where news happens immediately and is reported right after the event. Only, instead of being broadcast to a mass, the internet made news more interactive. Comments on stories, and blogs took off making news more interactive.

2, reporters and news agencies use Twitter for the right reasons. What a useful tool Twitter is for spreading news. Reporters and news agencies found this out when they started using the service. We found out Osama Bin Laden was dead before the news broke on TV (*ahem* immediate access to news). ESPN covered the Phillies and Mets at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia the night Bin Laden died. No televised messages reached the people in the ballpark, but they knew what was going on because of Twitter.

3, only old people consistently read the newspaper or watch televised news broadcasts. Okay, so that’s a generalization, but not too much of one. Ask any tv news reporter what their viewer’s age demographic is. They’ll tell you that their consistent audience is older adults. Kind of hard to retain an audience that the grim reaper will be taking.

4, news websites are an outdated method for news. Whoa! The internet is now out of date? Yes, it is. Widgets and apps are becoming a huge source of news. Your desktop computer, laptop or smartphone brings the news to you right when it’s published. Websites are not a dead media, but apps and widgets are becoming more and more prevalent in news consumption.

5, news organizations are branching off into areas they are not known for. Radio stations and newspapers are starting to hire people who know how to edit video. Television stations are hiring people who know how to write stories for online publications. Convergence is creating similarities between the major media outlets, rather than extrapolating the differences. Look at the Eagle’s and KSN’s website. As of right now, 4;12 CST on 10/19/2011 they have the same story about slot machines arriving in for the new casino in the Mulvane area. Not only do they have the same story,they have the same style. Picture and print, no video.

So, let’s grab the check and crack open that fortune cookie. “The future of news mediums will continue to be unpredictable because of the dynamic forces behind the changes.” Huh, good job fortune cookie.

Okay, so that’s the general view of news media changes, but what about comparing how people have consumed news in the past to attempt to dictate the direction of news?
People like information immediately, or at least immediately at their disposal. No longer are we basing our lives on when news is reported. We are consuming the news: at  a rate we want to, with the stories we want to, from the sources we want, whenever we want to. In the next block I will give an example of how broadcast news changed. The traditional local broadcast model goes something like this (first segment):

1. Graphic crime story
2. Quick VO/SOT of crime story with a concerned citizen
2. Different ways you or your family could die
3. A look at the Weather (which I still believe is right outside  the window)
4. Followup on a national story about something bad that happened or political event (can be switched to first block if bad enough or with local connection)
5. Local Charity or School did something
6. Back to the Weather
7. Tease of a playful kitten that got stuck in a tree (the story doesn’t actually broadcast until the end of the news)

Okay, so the first segment of the local news has 5 different stories you are forced to engage in. Well if you went online, you wouldn’t have to sit through all the death and ways your family could die just to see the cat stuck in a tree. You could just click on it. And…if you had a computer or smartphone with widgets or apps installed you could just watch the story whenever you want without even going on the website. The traditional broadcast method makes viewers sit through things they are not interested in, but news media has all the stories laid out in a buffet style (the 2-year-old General’s Chicken is even out there). Not only can you pick from the stories that you are interested in, the news outlets show you other stories you may be interested in because of the one you selected. This is just comparing TV to online. There were changes between Print and Radio, Radio and TV, TV and Internet, and now Internet and Widgets/Apps.

I hate writing a piece about the future of news without stating a piercing belief I have about the future of news. But that would be contradictory with the message I’m writing about. I am writing about the future of news, but what I’m saying is we don’t know what the future is. General statements like changes will happen are of course accurate. It’s when you attempt to describe the changes that you become wrong. People in the ’50s said we’d have flying cars and cyborgs by now. Well we don’t, but their prediction, while wrong, indicated that we’d have more advanced technology than at current time. That is correct. So I’m going to say a general fortune cookie style statement about the future of news. It consists of two parts:

1. The future of news mediums will continue to be unpredictable because of the dynamic forces behind the changes.
There will be changes in our news mediums, but, because one change often leads to another, predicting all the changes is nearly impossible.

2. People will continue to consume the news: they are interested in, when it fits into their schedule and from various sources.
This isn’t a new trend. It started with television and carried over the internet, now it is transferring to apps and widgets. We’ll encounter new mediums along the way and the cycle will continue.

So maybe the fortune cookie is right.

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Filed under Social Media, Things With Cats in it, Wichita Businesses

Changes within Social Media and the Internet

Engage! explained marketing strategies in corporations and how the amount of money spent in marketing for the companies changed. Businesses are spending more and more money each year in online advertising. However, not all businesses are spending this money correctly. Simply putting more money into a social media campaign will not result in higher return on investments. There needs to be direction, a goal, a way to improve your marketing with social media, not using social media as the improvement. Too many businesses misuse social media, and it bites them back for doing so. A proper use can, when needed, effectively broadcast your message to thousands if not millions of people. I experienced the benefits first hand of proper social media use. This past summer, we had a lot of kittens at the Kansas Humane Society. We knew we had too many to give proper care to all, but we needed to find a way to get people in the door to adopt them. We decided to create a two-hour long free cat and kitten adoption event. Because we had little time to prepare for this, the only means we could express this message with were social media, and two television spots. I created a Youtube video, which we posted to our blog and facebook. Two days after posting the video, we had our adoption event and all of our cats and kittens were adopted. Using a nontraditional style of marketing, we were able to effectively reach our audience and reap the benefits. We continue to use blogs, social media and other nontraditional methods of marketing. Though, adopting all of our felines in two hours using mostly nontraditional marketing created that week is a remarkable achievement.

Social media is a cheaper, faster, and more efficient alternative to traditional marketing. This works as a double-edged sword however. Social media sites are free to join and many of the users engage with the community members. This means more money can be spent on the message and improving its quality rather than on its broadcast. Users can instantly see the message, and the message will remain on the site, and your profile for as long as you wish to keep it there. Broadcast spots, radio and print ads all cost exorbitant sums of money. Your ad on radio and television will only be broadcast for anywhere from fifteen seconds to one minute. Print ads show up in side columns and back pages of editorials. These costly ads are generated towards a group of people rather than one person, and deal with and act as a distraction towards listeners and readers. A detraction of social media comes from one of its positive aspects. Sure users can instantaneously view, share and critic other’s posts, blogs or statuses, but what happens when it’s not intended for release. Recently we saw the case of Anthony Weiner posting a picture that he vehemently denied being him, or his private region. With the immediacy of our media intake, Weiner’s followers were able to see this photo before he knew he posted it and he fell under scrutiny.

Privacy remains a barrier in the control of our social media platforms. Danah Boyd explains much of her interpretations of it in her speech Open Privacy. We perceive an illusion of control of our profiles because we can control the privacy settings. While controlling the privacy settings is important in filtering the information to sources, it will not completely filter it. It takes one slip-up and you’re Hannah Montana talking trash on other celebrities on Youtube because you thought the video was set on private. Besides, what is stopping one of the people who can see the material from publishing it? Further more, what stops someone from posting bad mouth or uploading a controversial about you? There are no privacy settings that exist to stop that.

Combining the topic of privacy settings and marketing, we end up with the idea of a new style, nontraditional marketing schematic. Using Facebook as an example, when you post your interests, activities, favorite foods, and other personal information, your intent is to post about yourself for others to see. However, what Facebook sees is demographic and psychographic analysis that can be sold to marketers. The sidebars on your profile page are not ads generated randomly and to an unspecified mass like a broadcast or print ad. These ads can not only be categorized based on demographics such as age, sex and location, but as well as psychographics like favorite food, favorite activity, and general interests. An example of a dynamic ad- Do you have a boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other? If your profile says yes, then you will receive ads based on this relationship. Popular ones that show up on my account are track your girlfriend’s location, where to go with your girlfriend, and what your baby would look like. However, if it says no, you will receive ads like where to meet girls/guys, top things guys/girls like, and so on. This dynamic shift in marketing is taking place throughout the world. Companies will be sending more messages tailored to you rather than a group. Another example of this comes from the online music station Pandora. When you create a station, you are telling Pandora a specific genre of music you listen to. By participating in the thumbs up and thumbs down filter selections, you are not only selecting certain songs to be heard, but you are selecting certain ads. If you’re listening to a station and Cage the Elephant comes on, but you click the thumbs down button, chances are you won’t hear the Cage the Elephant ad for their new cd.

Along with this change in marketing the public’s power in business to consumer communications changed. Jay Rosen highlighted certain truths and changes with this in his article The People Formerly Known as the Audience. The material is true; the consumer is now garnering more control from corporations. No longer is the corporation sending out messages with little to no feedback, but instead we can comment, like or retweet a message to spread the word and give appropriate feedback to the speaker.

Blogs enabled people to become their own printing press, Youtube allowed people to become their own broadcast stations, and podcast changed radio. The more subtle changes occurred with the addition of apps and widgets. The Internet we know now may very well be transformed from a free roam environment into an app happy, condensed, mobile world. Wired posted an article about this very thing

The Internet is not going to die or go away, but a lot of the ways we access it will change. Our Facebooks, Twitters, and Youtubes are all apps now. We don’t need to sign into browsers and go to the webpage, we can immediately find the information we want right there. This will change the future of marketing. It’s becoming more apparent that businesses need a website, a Facebook, and a Twitter, and maybe now an app to continue to flourish in the markets (I do realize that not every business needs a social media presence, and I feel that some are in it just to be in it). How cool would it be if QuikTrip posted an app that synched with the maps app on your phone to give you the nearest directions? Websites are transforming from bigger landscapes of information to condensed and mobile friendly. We log onto our accounts on our phones and ipads. These apps are not going to go away. It is my belief that the future of our social media lives and Internet consumption will evolve to this app friendly world.

It is apparent the marketing and social world around us is changing. Whether it is by company’s strategies, social networking updates and innovations, or a whole new way to access the web; changes, not only the ones we are experiencing now, are on the horizon. It is very interesting to think that fifteen years ago an entirely different beast dominated our media world. Television held a tight grip on the news world with 24-hour news, but now Facebook and Twitter allow us to instantaneously see what is happening at any given point to any given person. The articles we read for this class hit the nail on the head and defined a change that is currently occurring in our society. Brian Solis explained how businesses need, or don’t need to spend their time on social media marketing ventures. Jay Rosen wrote on the changes in media and the control the people now have. Yes it is true a handful of media conglomerates control most of the market, but blogging and other networking sites gave people a large chunk control. Danah Boyd explained the privacy issues within social media, and the illusion we see as control. Finally, Wired spawned a new thought into the idea of an ever-changing web and how we may no longer at a free roam Internet the same. Maybe apps are a fad, but a lot of the things we use now had the same stigma?

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Filed under Business Use, Recreational, Social Media