Friday, November 27, 2009

Social media has two faces

Very interesting blog post points to some of the problems with social media for marketers (and the rest of us). Sure, it can really help a product, but it can also really hurt if some in the "community" turn against it. It includes research showing that people who are most involved with a product by, say, commenting on it or interacting on a web site, are the most knowledgeable but also the most critical of it. Nice to have something to think about the day after Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Murdock's move supported, and not

Some American newspapers ponder joining Rupert Murdock in pulling their news content from Google, but BBC said that it had "no intention" of joining in the move.

The American newspapers, in Denver and Dallas, said they would protect stories "behind pay walls" but allow Google to link to free online offerings. This seems a sensible policy, and one that I suspect will be followed by any successful print/online company. News content free online, but features, columns, reviews and the content that really adds value to news coming behind a pay wall and not available to Google or Yahoo searchers.

What's next for social media?

Often in recent years we yanks have been behind the media trends and have had to look to Europe, Australia or Asia for what's really happening. Great Britain's Guardian offers some excellent media stories, including a piece reporting on an Oxford Business School session pulling together some of the top names in social media to discuss its future.

None of the panelists (with ties to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) were willing to answer the basic question: What's next after social media. But there's a lot of good thinking reported in this old media vehicle (accessed via the Internet, so does that make it new media?).

Musings on e-books, textbooks and the future

There have been some small news stories recently that are touching on a larger one. It's always been the case that media is better at seeing trees than forests. In this case, the trees are e-books and textbooks (I sort of like using trees as a metaphor for tree-less technology), and their impact is the forest.

The stories are the first steps toward using e-books for textbooks. All of us -- including university faculty -- recognise the incredible cost of textbooks. We also understand why their so expensive, but they remain very expensive. Frankly, I can't see e-book technology significantly reducing the cost over the long run, but that's a different story.

What I do see is more use of the e-book platform for delivering textbooks in the future, and that's the forest. As students use e-books more and more (especially when technology catches up and offers e-books in color and more useful), they are being subtly trained to like the technology. That's the forest: Once students adopt the e-book technology, they may well prefer it, which will strongly affect the book publishing business.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

L.A. Times extends behavior rules to the Internet

L.A. Times issues new social media rules that basically say that everything news staffers post online must be viewed in light of how it would reflect on the newspaper. I guess that means no hot holiday party pictures.

Murdoch + Microsoft: The new good guys?

Discussions Rupert Murdoch and Microsoft have stirred a lot of controversy lately, with the party line being that (1) it's a stupid idea that won't work, or (2) that it threatens the free Internet. All that's because Murdoch is threatening to sign an exclusive deal for his properties' content with Microsoft, which would mean it couldn't show up on Goggle or Yahoo searches. Supposedly not showing up on Google or Yahoo searches will cost it the all-important hits that may sometime in the future deliver money to the content provider (at least enough money to make it worthwhile).

Blogger Douglas Rushkoff at the Daily Beast says the controversy is for another reason -- it might work. Rushkoff says the "free Internet at any cost" is, and I'm paraphrasing a bit here, replacing the greedy old media monopolists like Murdoch with greedy new media monopolists like Google.

This argument makes sense to me: "However much we all might like free content in the short term, it is unsustainable in the long term. When nobody is paying for content, that content stops being created." That's the point missed by so many new media apologists.

Magazine veterans tackle a new project

Some of the magazine industry's heaviest hitters are joining to create a new digital magazine designed to work across all platforms. It's going to be interesting to see what they come up with.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Newspaper ad revenues off again

Newspaper ad revenues are off for eighth straight quarter. Not much more to say on this.