Lots of stuff is going on. Lots of things
becoming clear. Let me start off with a true life anecdote.
the 1980s, when newspapers were contracting and laying people off (yes all this
has happened before), I was offered a job as a technical editor for Lockheed on
the Trident II nuclear missile program. I told them I knew nothing about
missiles, nuclear weapons or submarines. They said, "We know, but
you know how to write. That's what we need."
worked there for seven years, learning a lot about nuclear warfare,
electronics, and all kinds of cutting edge semiconductor stuff. Also
learned how to use computers. Very interesting time. The point is, my technical knowledge was not important, but my ability
to communicate in the English language was.
forward to today. As I said in part one of this series, people are
either having a hard time figuring out what social media actually does, or
being completely enamored with the mechanism, thinking it will solve the
problems of the "death of media." And as I said, social media, in
itself, doesn't "do" anything, nor does it actually replace
traditional media. Fo social media to be successful, you have to have
people who actually know how to communicate...how to use a "medium."
And while there are a handful of engineers out there who can write
halfway decently, they are few and far between. That's why we still need
journalists and writers.
some may think that writing is easy. It isn't and I do a lot of it. I had a conversation with a brain
surgeon on a plane once. Spent an
hour listening to him talk about himself.
Then he asked what I did. I
said I was a writer. He said he
was thinking about taking up writing.
I looked at him and said I was thinking about taking up brain surgery. He got indignant and said the two were
not comparable. I said,
exactly. Writing is not brain
surgery, rocket science or semiconductor design. It's still hard, takes talent, training and experience. Not everyone can do it and even fewer
can do it well.
may think that because media as we know it is going away that so are the
communicators the produced the content.
That's not true. They are
still there and many are finding new ways to make a living at what they
do. That's why I started New Tech
Press, to put some of those people back to work. That's why Extension Media is starting all those new
specialty publications. That's why people like Brian Fuller are
talking about the gig economy. What's the common denominator in all of
these efforts? Someone is paying
for this content directly, not through advertising supported efforts. It's called sponsored content.
form of it is called vendor-as-publisher, where a company actually finances an
independent publication, free of advertising. That's what Mike Santarini is doing at Xilinx. Xcell focuses on issues that are of
particular interest to Xilinx, it's customers and potential customers, but it
gives Mike the freedom to look at things objectively, because that's what he
point is that the need for what traditional media has always done has not gone
away, but the economic model that supported it, and even the very formats that
carried it are going away. It's
called a revolution. I wish I
could find the article I was reading that spelled this out, but essentially it
said that in the midst of a revolution, when people ask if everything is ever
going to get back to the way it was, then they don't know a revolution is underway. The very definition of a revolution is
that nothing will ever be in the same format. Basic needs will always be there, but we have to look for
different ways to meet them.
to meet our informational needs, we are going to have to find a way to financially
support the people who are trained and experienced in the process of
communicating real information, not just marketing bull****. Those are the people that are going to
make social media actually "do" something and they have to eat.
into the social media fray is not an option for modern business; you have to do
it. The recent numbers on how many
decision makers are using makes that undeniable. What is also undeniable is that most of the population lacks
not only the time, but the talent and training to make the best use of social
media as an outgoing communication tool for news and business. That rests in the hands of some very
dedicated, ethical people out in the workforce. There are not a lot of them and they are worth every penny
you are going to have to pay them to help you succeed.
is getting too long. More later.