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Old Media and New Media Working Together

There was a last minute substitution for this morning’s keynote. I don’t know what happened, so no juicy details from me, but whatever happened it resulted in a great talk by Andy Carvin (of PBS Learning.now fame) about how “Old Media” giants (such as NPR, CNN, and USA Today) are embracing the social web to extend their coverage and reporting power. And beta isn’t just for the web any more. NPR is releasing pilots early for comment and criticism here at Roughcuts.

In fact “participatory” and “transparency” were the real themes of the morning. “The people formerly known as the audience” (Carven quoting Jay Rosen) are becoming more and more instrumental in determining what gets reported and how it gets reported.

But I think he really hit the nail on the head when he said that as much as participatory environments really get things done, enrich “standard” content, and are generally recognized as a great idea, organizations are reluctant to “go social” because, and I quote, “People aren’t always comfortable sharing how they make sausages.”

But I think there’s more to it than that organizations (or individuals) think it’ll be embarrassing or icky or gross, or any of that. I think there’s at least as much of a perception that what happens behind the scenes isn’t interesting to people. At least, I know that’s true of my job. Almost every time my grandma asks what, exactly, I do at work (which is often, mostly because I’ve never been able to actually explain it well) I have trouble saying anything because I’m always sure that most of the day to day stuff I do and think about isn’t “interesting” (especially not to people who don’t live in library land).

Anyway, Carvin had a rich set of slides (PowerPoint file here) filled with an impressive number of examples. He didn’t get to all of them in his talk, but they’re definitely worth visiting. There are lots of links. Lots.

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2 thoughts on “Old Media and New Media Working Together

  1. But I think he really hit the nail on the head when he said that as much as participatory environments really get things done, enrich “standard” content, and are generally recognized as a great idea, organizations are reluctant to “go social” because, and I quote, “People aren’t always comfortable sharing how they make sausages.”

    What a great analogy! :) In a similar vein, a friend of mine who works in postproduction television once said: “My job may sound exciting, but it’s television — and television lies.” It’s interesting to think of how to balance transparency with potential business needs to keep some things behind closed doors.

    Thanks for sharing your notes — the conference sounds really fantastic. :)

  2. You’re right, Sarah. It’s always a balancing act, and some decisions are harder to make than others. I don’t envy these bigger businesses the decisions they have to make.

    And yes, the conference is great. And the company is even greater. Wish you could join us!

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