May 7, 2010

There's no going back . . .

The lines have blurred between what is traditional, digital and social media.

Here’s the revelation: It’s all the same. Traditional is now the digital media and now all digital media is social. Sharing is going on everywhere. The web KNOWS you-- your likes, dislikes, what you like to eat for breakfast. Facebook recently saw to that when they developed “like” pages that are being implemented on websites everywhere.

It is no longer even remotely possible to separate your worlds like before. So, I propose that all journalists, public relations, marketing and communications professionals EMBRACE IT. Figure out how to make it work for your business model because it is here to stay. The tools will evolve and new more flashy ones will be created, but the concept of globalized sharing is here to stay.

Now, all you writers out there thinking, oh this is just another PR person saying that journalism/writing is dead, it is absolutely not dead. All those things you learned in J school can be shaped and reused in this evolution. In fact, I maintain that all those “traditional” theories and methods are usable and SHOULD be used. Just tweak them for the “tool” you are using. A prime example of a traditional media outlet that has evolved is the New York Times. At PRSA’s Digital Impact Conference in NYC, May 6-7, Jennifer Preston (@NYT_JenPreston), NY Times social media editor, said that they were among the early adopters of digital and social media. As a result they have seen their readership level jump from around 1 million to over 20 million since 2007. Preston said it takes a measure of trust and the willingness to try something new without fear of making mistakes. Were mistakes made, she says “Absolutely.” But they do have guidelines. “If you wouldn’t say it on the Today Show, or a live radio show, don’t say it on Twitter.”

At the Digital Impact Conference we delved into topics such as developing social media policy and the best techniques and tools used to reach target audiences. One of my favorite topics was how to inspire brand ambassadors to tell your business or organization’s story. So, stay tuned as I plan to blog about them over the next couple days as I decompress and let all the great things I heard take hold.

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