I noticed at this weekend's Accelerating Change Conference that I was speaking to people that are thoroughly bored by television and much of mass media in general - and have entirely switched TV/newpaper time over to Internet and gaming activities. I'm in that camp myself. Trifle minority? Fine, but watch kids - even big college-age ones - they spend an inordinate time in story-forming and story-dwelling media (breakdown of the three narrative types).
As Richards Marks, Special Projects Manager for R&D, Sony Computer Entertainment (see AC2004 Day 2 notes) put it:
My 4-year-old walks up to the TV and waves his hand and he expects it to turn on. He's a little confused if it doesn't. He has high expectations. He probably expects in a year that he can talk to it.
Today's kids will never grow up to be passive Consumers 1.0. They expect interactive media as the minimum. The bar is even higher with networked media - it's possibilities are fully participatory.
Jim Banister, an entrenched "linear media" person (think Hollywood) who saw the light, in his book Word of Mouse: The Age of Networked Media, says the Consumer 2.0 (yes, yes, I know that word doesn't fit) takes on all the five roles in traditional media value chain: Production, Distribution, Marketing, Vending, and Consumption. (Formerly we were relegated to solely wearing the Consumer hat.) He calls these five roles Be-Bits and states you must engage all five for success.
There is a different dynamic occuring in networked media that still befuddles and endangers institutions mired in linear, traditional thoughts of mass-production, consumerism and paternal capitalism. - Jim Banister, at LA Futurists meeting, part of the Institute of the Study of Accelerating Change many monthly salons
All marketing and communications "best practices" today are centered on the story-telling media and applying story-telling techniques to everything under the sun. We need to evolve to be better able to deal with these other forms of media.
In a world of increasing transparency and competition for attention, blogs, wikis and RSS feeds are quickly becoming crucial tools for your communications toolkit. - New Communications Forum site
I know a lot of folks think I'm a radical. I am. But I'm not like any other radical you've met. Perhaps one day you'll meet me and see I'm not exactly an anti-capitalist, granola-hippie anarchist. But I am definitely not a middle-of-the-herd gal either. I just don't dig in my heels and deny the present and future - and I'm very straightforward.
Sixty percent report that even when the TV is on they don't pay attention as much as they used to and mostly use it for background noise. The Yankelovich Report on Generational Marketing states the dilemma quite clearly: "Browsing will begin to characterize the way all age groups relate to all media. Yet our marketing strategies are still based on them watching and reading."
Once the remote control came on the scene, we became a nation of data dodgers, with highly specialized skills for ignoring vast stretches of the information terrain. We can walk down the street and never notice the change of a billboard right above our office. We have an incredible talent for thinking about something else the moment a radio ad comes on and tuning back in when the music returns. The remote control no longer rests in our hand. It has become part of our brain, allowing us to screen out uninvited information with incredible accuracy and effectiveness. - Digital Aboriginal by Mikela and Philip Tarow
Thus I'm very excited - I've known about this for weeks and was dying to share but the details were still being fleshed out - to announce the first face-to-face gathering for communications and marketing professionals exclusively focused on this exact topic: the New Communications Forum. My friend (another testament to the power of blogging as we met via blogs) Elizabeth Albrycht is the program chair. She does a wonderful job of describing the impetus and motivation (the "why") for the workshop/gathering.
I couldn't help notice that it was like pulling teeth to get PRSA to finally relent to have even one session on blogs and participatory media. It underlines what Jim Banister says in frustration above (this said to a small audience, beware of bloggers in your midst ;-)): there is a different dynamic with network media that befuddles linear media folks. In contrast, this conference isn't being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. It's created intentionally around communicating and marketing for the networked media age via blogs, wikis and RSS feeds. A pre-conference feed is available and all the speakers (including moi) will be blogging over there (in addition to our own blogs). I hope to see you at NewComm January 26-27, 2005 in the heart of wine-tasting Napa Valley (oui, Parisian version follows in Feb 2005).