As we gear up for CES 2010 this week, I want to point out what I think the Internet and Las Vegas have in common. Both are very special places near and dear to my heart. Everywhere I look, it amuses me with all this riff-raft about “media is dying.” I often wonder what the hell a journalist is anyway. How is a journalist any different than a non-fiction storyteller? The fact is, we all have stories to tell. Every person on the planet is quickly being able to digital document their story as it happens.
In the past, “news” has been nothing more than what someone else, usually a wealthy high powered organization with direct ties to Wall Street and our government, would deem as important. Someone else controlling the flow of information to its audience, only producing content catering to whatever a room full of people see as important. Imagine that… until recently, the mindset of an entire city could be determined by maybe 100 or so people who produced “the news.” How do you know your priorities are the same as the man titled “News Director?” You don’t. When I write it out, it doesn’t even sound like a normal concept. I can’t imagine how nutty the dead concept will seem to future generations.
There is a little thing called Internet search that put old school media control to screeching halt. Before, humans have been forced to become products of a limited environment, living under geographic, informational, and cultural restraints. We have all been prisoners of prospective to whatever limited available media channels have allowed us to think. If perspective wasn’t greater than reality, well, America probably would not be at war right now.
Media is not dead, it is booming! Search is the new media. Access to almost anything is literally a point and click away. The key to controlling a channel is realizing that most intellectual, innovative minds don’t have time to untangle the unlimited amount of Internet streams for enriching stories relevant to their lives. That should be a media company’s role- pick out associated content relevant to your audience, create some, sort it, make it relevant.
The newspaper buyout initiative is such a huge waste of time, effort and government spending. Spend our taxes on increasing access of information to people, especially the poor, so they can learn about new opportunities and jobs. Don’t bail out large companies who are used to keeping control. Oh and create some jobs while you are it too, (that is a whole different post lol).
People want to talk about the public needing credible content they can trust. Ill tell you what is credible, a machine that generates facts with a probability of getting it right 99.999999 percent of the time. Who are you going to trust more? A police department’s data system that produces distinct data about crimes in your neighborhood, or the nightly news that tells you about a crime they think is important? What a machine can’t do is tell an audience why they should care. That should be a media company’s (or blogger’s, or brand’s) role.
It amuses me how traditional media companies point fingers at companies such as Google and blame them for this revolution our world is enduring. To compare this to the last period of mast global economic change, The Industrial Revolution; there was once a time in our culture where many people thought the the railroad industry would rule our country. Last time I checked, they weren’t.
A newspaper company blaming Google is like a woodcrafter blaming Henry Ford, or a village candlemaker blaming Albert Einstein. There are still plenty of wagon and candle makers, and they are probably doing just fine serving their set niche market. There will be more Googles of the world, more inventions and more game changers. Dominance does not last forever and eventually, all giants will take a fall. (ie. the current state of the auto industry).
Furthermore, what these insanely profitable technology companies cannot do is give you a relationship. If Google were a person to you, it would be the workaholic uncle always traveling the world. It may give you great resources to enhance your life, but it wont be at your backyard barbecue. New content channels should feed its audience breakfast in bed. Give them tasty tidbits that pertain to their life. Learn who they are, what they buy, where they live, and serve their every need with a silver spoon. More than anything, listen and give them an organized avenue to speak their mind.
I realize that new ideas = risk, and for many people thats why change is so difficult to implement. Risks are what allow you to grow. And I think the minute you are not growing, you are dead. I embrace change, discovery and innovation.
Las Vegas is a wonderful city that was built on fantasy, fulfilling dreams, equal opportunity, and instant gratification. To me, that is exactly what the Internet and the future of our global economy has become. Yes, just like the casinos, Google is the house and it will always win. It will always cash more than its players. So what. Learn to play game. I am going to Double or Nothing in 2010, let’s hope luck is on my side.
Emily Gimmel is a TV reporter, producer, and writer with a decade of media experience. Visit www.EmilyGimmel.com for more of her thoughts and discoveries. You can also follow the self-proclaimed “Sexiness Advocate” on Twitter at @emilygimmel.