Journalists are from Mars, Readers are from Venus

Posted on October 9, 2007

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Here’s what I’ve realized in the past couple of months (among other things, of course): If you’re going to blog, it should be about something that interests you every day, something that you have strong opinions about, and a topic that spurs lively conversations elsewhere.  While I’m still interested in writing about things that change the way GenXYZ lives, I’d also like to explore how our generation communicates.  The focus may shift a little… but this is all about experimentation.  Let’s see how it works.

For example, the headline for this post was taken from a Loose Wire Blog by Jeremy Wagstaff.  Jeremy is a journalist in the traditional sense (he also contributes to debates throughout social media channels).  He’s keenly aware of how consumers are engaging wth traditional media and what that means for the business of news.  In his recent post on the Future of News, Jeremy writes:

"…there are no consumers of news anymore. In fact, you’ve probably heard this said a lot, here and elsewhere that, in the era of MySpace, Wikipedia, OhmyNews and citizen journalism, everyone is a journalist, and therefore a producer, of news. No one is just a consumer."

I both agree and disagree with the rest of the post (it’s worth reading).  If you’ve ever read Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s blog at Forrester, you’ll recall that there are different levels of participation in social media.  I’d agree with them and argue that not everyone is a news-maker (some are just gathering or absorbing the news).  Sure, GenXYZ contributes to "hyperlocal" news as Jeremy defines it – in the form of Twitter feeds and Facebook status updates – but I’m still not going to call that "news" regardless of how the industry changes.   

I recently heard Josh Bernoff speak at a Social Media Club event, and he likened social media to having a conversation, where traditional PR and marketing are viewed as shouting at the audience.  I guess the same can be said for the news business.  Reuters and the AP are shouting at me, while I’m engaged in a conversation with Perez Hilton.

The bottom line is: there’s room for everyone.  I think my generation would agree – we go to TechCrunch and MSNBC for technology news, read AP stories for their immediacy, and look to celebrity gossip blogs when we need a break (or conversation topics for the next girl’s night out).  None of these outlets will eliminate the others… if they all stay true to their audiences and strive to communicate in the same language as their readers, everyone will continue to thrive and traditional "news" will have a place in the lives of GenXYZ for a long time to come.

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