Is it just a question of getting the facts straight when it comes to our media?
What Blogging brought forth is the notion that opinion lies neatly next to news (and that it is sometimes very difficult to tell the difference between the two). In fact, it’s worth arguing that opinion is the new news. Without looking at the political sphere for examples (you get more than enough of that here on The Huffington Post and on other websites, news outlets and Blogs),what does it take create great media?
The heart of the matter.
Emotion is key to driving interest. Human beings are creatures of habits. We like being able to see the actual people who are creating our media and being able to shake their hand. In digital terms, the handshake happens by following them on Twitter and Facebook, or by checking out their LinkedIn profile and seeing if there’s any videos of them on YouTube. These online social networking channels not only provide a way to connect more directly with the people who are creating the media, but they also provide a level of social proofing. While these things can be gamed, what we’re seeing is a new media landscape that is less driven by facts and realities and much more driven by following those whose opinions are either like yours or share in a similar value system. Imagine that, with all of these new media channels, perhaps our perspectives are becoming that much more narrower.
Does this Blog make me look fat?
It also come from the presentation. This goes well beyond proper grammar and spelling and spills into everything from the way the text, images, audio and video stream from the screen. It has to "look good" (and yes, looking good is about as arbitrary as anything these days). Face it, you’ve fallen for a Blog post here or there that wasn’t exactly Pulitzer material simply because it not only looked good, but was presented in a way that way pleasing to the eye. Don’t believe me? The ascent in popularity of infographics has given rise to a lot of attention being doled out to some very minor players. The contents of the infographic is almost as questionable as some of the business practices being put out into the world by the business that are funding these graphic. But, they get the attention because, "hey… infographics are cool and this one has a pleasing color scheme with a lot of statistics on it!" (well-founded or otherwise).
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
In the end, the discourse will set you free. It’s increasingly harder to lie, cheat and steal in a world where anyone and everyone has a platform to publish an opinion. So, while your view of what quantifies as honesty may be different from mine, the newer media channels that are experiencing both growth and profitability trend towards the ones that are being honest and not filling their publishing white space with too much hyperbole, marketing pap and industry jargon. Blogs should still amaze you – each and every day – simply because the best ones (no matter how mis-guided some of the content may be) are written from a very open, honest and transparent place (and if they are not, you will know about it by the comments that follow the blog post). With over a decade of Blogging under our global belts, it’s still a new and developing form of communications and media that has yet to fully mature and find it’s permanent place in the media landscape. It’s unique in that the discourse that takes place within the Blog comments – or as the content streams into other channels through sharing – creates new layers that require more in-depth analysis and critique… something that most casual readers don’t either the time or interest in.
So, which new media wins?
If your company is looking to publish content and own your own media channels, the content should be emotional (written from your heart), presented well (and this means both from a visual design and user interface perspective), it should be honest and – ultimately – it needs to reflect both the culture and value of the brand (and the person creating the content). It’s a tall order, and (probably) the main reason why so few brands have mastered it.
As big as this all is, It’s still an open opportunity, and one that most businesses still haven’t formally committed to. Sadly.
The above posting is my twice-monthly column for The Huffington Post called, Media Hacker. I cross-post it here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original version online here: