The modem was screeching, trying to make that handshake with another modem, if I could just connect to that modem, I could get the information I need. I had a book with pages of phone numbers for most of the BBS’s out on there in the world, they published books with theme as well. You could download drivers and programs, it was great fun, but it took forever on a 300 or 2400 Baud modem. The days of dialing into a BBS (Bulletin Board System) to get information are behind us, and when the Internet came along, most of these software packages built modules / add-on’s to connect a BBS to the NET. Eventually, that call into a BBS became an Internet connection at faster speeds of a modem, the world changed in one fleeting moment. You remember don’t you, when you had to send email via FidoNet, use a program to download a package of all your messages from the week before. That’s right, it used to take days, even weeks to get a response via email on a BBS. The more games, and or information you had available on your BBS, the more attention, the more visitors. There were almost no GURUS & EXPERTS, just people with some experience, and they were willing to help you for free, for the most part.
While the BBS world was quietly doing it’s thing, TV, Radio & Newspaper’s garnered almost all the attention, in some markets they still do. You didn’t hear about GURUS & EXPERTS that much because those medium’s were closely guarded. Not open, not free. To advertise, to get the word out, the mainstream media was the most effective way. Until the Internet.
The Internet changed the game, suddenly the attention shifted, and then attention game had no rules, no watch dogs, it was wide open, it was free…..for now. Out of nowhere the GURUS & EXPERTS appeared, suddenly there were more authorities on everything than you could imagine. I’ve often said, everyone knows something about something, but no one knows everything about everything. The narcissists would argue that point.
Blogging became the mode of communication, you could write about anything, it is a writers dream, a painters favorite kind of canvas. Blogs had the attention until a bigger beast appeared, Social Networks, and the attention shifted once again. These Social Networks are shifting as I write, a new shift, they want you, all of us to Blog on their network, on their channel, because they want content. Why? They want to win the attention war. It matters not how you access the social networks, it only matters that your attention shifts.
I find it puzzling that many would rather blog on Social Networks than their own Blog. Giving away traffic to the Social Networks, when the Social Networks should be driving traffic to the Blog…..funny how it gets turned around.
Personally, I would rather be the owner a Blog, and use Social Networks as tools to drive customers, readers, viewers back to my home-base, my Blog. Most Social Networks and other mainstream media sites want you to make their site your home-base, they want to be your homepage when you open a browser, much like the Industrial Age of control. They want your attention, they want to control your attention, but so do you the Blogger.
If you give away viewers, readers, and buyers, and traffic….you lose. Big business wins again, they got you to shift your attention, and the attention of those that were paying attention to you. Giving away your followers eyeballs means they make the money, not you, defeating the purpose you ventured in to.
Guard your fans, protect your followers, they truly are valuable, to you, and most definitely to big business. Think about where you put your content, you and only you can control it. There is an attention shift taking place, no matter how easy it might seem, don’t be fooled into giving it to groups and organizations that want to take it from you. Build YOUR platform, your home-base, that’s the only way to survive this attention-getting war.
I was having breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants, the Roasted Grape, and was talking to the owner about what’s changed, and what is changing in business. Much of it is simple, too me, but there is much that goes into how you should adopt what’s changing. I had my laptop with me this morning and was working on my Social Tool called TweetDeck, he said, that’s alot of action going on there. I said, it’s not as much action as you might think, I am listening, alot. He had a confused look on his face of course. I showed him how I was listening for his business on Twitter, then I smiled.
When people don’t understand, don’t know, they feel helpless and in some cases, stupid. Most business owners don’t like to look like they don’t know, but Matt admitted he is somewhat overwhelmed by all that is changing. So I ask him what two things he felt were game changers in the world, in the history of mankind. He had to stop and think about it, I suggested, The Internet & War.
Think about it, War impacted the entire world, and it changed the world at such a deep level, we still get emotional about it. The Internet has done the same thing, it has changed everything, how we communicate, how we sell, how we research information, and we look for loved ones hoping we will find them. It’s so huge, the impact of the Internet has changed my working life, it will never be the same, and it’s about to change the way school is done.
The questions then turn to how to use it, how to use it in business. It’s not that complicated really, it just seems that way. My workshops are all about helping business owners wrap their brain around this huge game changer, and social media just complicated it more. Social Media is not new kids, it’s just gone digital, stop complicating the conversation, in fact, it’s not the conversation, it’s where it takes place and who is listening. Everyone!
We are in the middle of a different kind of war today, an information war, a spiritual war, and a war of how we use our time. But we really struggle with how this thing called the Internet impacts our business, how we make our living, it’s a battle.
Don’t let the battle get you down, fight the good fight.
My gift of helps is why I write, why I hold workshops, and why I public speak, I just want to help, make the world a better place. How are you using your gifts, your business, how do these two come together and help fight the war, are you making the world a better place inspite of the war?
This has been on my mind for some time now, and I know I’m not the first blogger to share his or her thoughts on this medium. Having spent 15 years in Media via Radio & Television mostly, I’ve considered Newspaper a distant cousin rather than the opposition in my years of selling advertising. The Media mix for marketing has always been these big three, Radio, Television & Newspaper, but something happened along the way and they seem to have missed it.
If you’ve noticed, the paper has been getting smaller, or shorter. The paper is getting fatter with inserts and more grocery coupons than one person can count. The content is smothered by ads, there are more ads in the paper than actual content for us to consume. What used to take two cups of coffee to read, takes less than minute. There is always the big headline trying to get your attention, it is almost always a headline like – Another Hit-And-Run! After all, blood and guts is what sells papers right?
So what’s happening to local Newspapers? It’s as if they are in a different world, a world of their own, and we’re not invited to participate in that world. We don’t have a say in what goes into the paper, in fact, we have virtually no hope of being heard by our local Newspapers. I just don’t understand that way of thinking. The old saying comes to mind, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”, and I know business owners are tired of being bitten.
Radio used to be theatre of the mind, a real connecting point for communities, a huge service during the war, they used to get involved with communities without charging you to be in your community. Radio reached more people than any other medium, it was the 1st medium on the scene really, and it almost didn’t see the light of day. Why? It was free! The music industry alone tried to stop it, but then they figured out how to monetize Radio, there was an acceptable business model. That business model was the 1st real Open & Free Business Model.
Television captivated us by the sheer magic of how they were able to make it happen, TV used to be live not pre-recorded, those were golden times for TV. They too figured out the Open & Free Business Model, just as Radio did, Newspaper’s like the other two lost their first love, being truly connected and got involved in their communities. They provided a service, and for the most part it was free until money became the primary focus. Money is and always will be the 1st love of almost every business on the planet, that’s why so many businesses fail, they focus on the wrong things because of money, and most still do today. But that’s changing.
I will give Newspapers some credit, they are adopting the Internet, they have to, that’s where the people are. Just because papers are moving to the Internet, doesn’t mean they will survive, it merely means they are making a shift to a digital format. One of our local papers has started using Twitter, they have 13 followers as of this writing, they have a ways to go to get attention of the Twitter crowd. In fairness, there is more than one local paper, one with 1006 followers, the rest with less 1,000 followers. The problem isn’t following & circulation, the problem is….the way they think, the paradigm shift is too difficult for many, they look at the problem with old industrial age thinking, and then try to solve this shift problem internally. No, they don’t need to hire a Social Media Guru, they need someone to come in with a fresh pair of eyes, someone who sees the future of business and what it’s really doing. Business, not the Newspaper Business.
If 60% of commerce is going to be done online in the next 2 -3 years, why are newspapers so slow to adopt this movement? They should have begun the move, from denial to foresight, but sadly they are resisting, eventually they will subcumb to this global movement. The times are a changing baby!
The control they are trying to hang onto is a greased pig. Consider the life span of one simple Newspaper Ad, about a day & a half. Radio would have you run campaigns that require multiple ads in an hour or a day for consecutive days. Television does the same thing, you must run 10 ads a day to reach as many consumers in a day. Ka-Ching! If it takes 30 days to develop a habit, imagine how many days it takes to keep a brand top of mind, the numbers get staggering.
The future of the big three has been at risk for some time now. Individuals are now the competitor, so pay attention. I challenge Newspapers to make one change, this one simple change: listen to what your readers want, let them decide, don’t get in the way and question it, just do it. Just once don’t let money think for you, Don’t tell readers how wrong they are, don’t treat us like we don’t have a clue what we are doing, just do it! You’re already loosing money and more importantly, readers, so why not try it, trust the people formerly known as your readers (consumers). If you don’t, they’ll find local news a different way, like here: The Fraser Valley Daily
There is so much more to say on this topic, would love to hear your thoughts. Someday we will see the end of the Newspaper Editor, why, because he/she will be redundant.
What do you think, do you think your local Newspaper is failing you & your community?