The|Intangibles » Intangibles http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil Selected posts from Boyd Neil's blog at http://www.boydneil.com Tue, 23 Nov 2010 20:22:30 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Print Backsliding – Cause for Worry? http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/11/30/print-backsliding-cause-for-worry.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/11/30/print-backsliding-cause-for-worry.html#comments Mon, 30 Nov 2009 23:00:00 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:5928912 It's maybe time to close the book on the reality of the decline in newspapers and get on with the argument about the hole it leaves, or doesn't. The latest is summarized in a blog post on Reflections of a Newsosaur aptly called "Carnage continued in Q3 newspaper sales"

"Continuing 14 straight quarters of mostly accelerating declines, total print advertising in the third period fell a bit less than 29% to $5.8 billion. Interactive advertising sales, which the industry once hoped would be its salvation, dropped nearly 17% in the third quarter to $623 million, marking the sixth quarter in a row of declines in this crucial category."

This is stark evidence that in spite of industry claims to the contrary the legacy media infrastructure is, like Marx's hope for the State, simply withering away, and the end point of the decline isn't yet in sight.

It is what it is and there is likely no going back, even if I share the angst the diminution occasions. The important discussion now is what should be saved and how. In spite of the stupidity of much of today's 'entertainews' , we still need columnists like the Globe and Mail's Jeffrey Simpson who keeps the current Canadian governing party in his sights and calls it out for every mendacious and insensitive word and act, which keeps him busy.  Democracy ought to have a vigorous fourth estate. Or, at least, it cant do without wise, critical, often cantankerous, always careful sentinels.

But let's be clear about a few things:

  1. The disappearance of print vehicles isn't the same thing as a flight from the consumption of news and information. People today are consuming more information and news than they ever have in the past. A lot of it is junk like TMZ.com and Perez Hilton's blog. (Then again, there have always been gossip, scandal, heartbreak and blood-first news books.) But it can't be denied that the rate of taking in news, facts and opinion is, in fact, going up.
  2. People are finding niche and important-to-them information, arguing with it, deep diving into it when it concerns them or affects their lives, and forming into groups when the news or chicanery requires action. There may be, to quote the 'Internationale' (there is a theme here you can tell) "a better world in birth."

I am in the camp which thinks the new substructure already exists for a strong new 'estate' of inventive, articulate (even if their metier is the image), critical guardians of democracy and its breeches. All the cream hasn't yet risen to the top as it has in print and television commentary. But there are beachheads, in Canada anyway, with the likes of David Eaves or some of the writers at the online newspaper The Tyee and, occasionally, The Torontoist.

So, there is no cause for worry because, as a recent article by David Carr concludes:

Somewhere down in the Flatiron, out in Brooklyn, over in Queens or up in Harlem, cabals of bright young things are watching all the disruption with more than an academic interest. Their tiny netbooks and iPhones, which serve as portals to the cloud, contain more informational firepower than entire newsrooms possessed just two decades ago. And they are ginning content from their audiences in the form of social media or finding ways of making ambient information more useful.

 

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It’s maybe time to close the book on the reality of the decline in newspapers and get on with the argument about the hole it leaves, or doesn’t. The latest is summarized in a blog post on Reflections of a Newsosaur aptly called “Carnage continued in Q3 newspaper sales”

“Continuing 14 straight quarters of mostly accelerating declines, total print advertising in the third period fell a bit less than 29% to $5.8 billion. Interactive advertising sales, which the industry once hoped would be its salvation, dropped nearly 17% in the third quarter to $623 million, marking the sixth quarter in a row of declines in this crucial category.”

This is stark evidence that in spite of industry claims to the contrary the legacy media infrastructure is, like Marx’s hope for the State, simply withering away, and the end point of the decline isn’t yet in sight.

It is what it is and there is likely no going back, even if I share the angst the diminution occasions. The important discussion now is what should be saved and how. In spite of the stupidity of much of today’s ‘entertainews’ , we still need columnists like the Globe and Mail’s Jeffrey Simpson who keeps the current Canadian governing party in his sights and calls it out for every mendacious and insensitive word and act, which keeps him busy.  Democracy ought to have a vigorous fourth estate. Or, at least, it cant do without wise, critical, often cantankerous, always careful sentinels.

But let’s be clear about a few things:

  1. The disappearance of print vehicles isn’t the same thing as a flight from the consumption of news and information. People today are consuming more information and news than they ever have in the past. A lot of it is junk like TMZ.com and Perez Hilton’s blog. (Then again, there have always been gossip, scandal, heartbreak and blood-first news books.) But it can’t be denied that the rate of taking in news, facts and opinion is, in fact, going up.
  2. People are finding niche and important-to-them information, arguing with it, deep diving into it when it concerns them or affects their lives, and forming into groups when the news or chicanery requires action. There may be, to quote the ‘Internationale’ (there is a theme here you can tell) “a better world in birth.”

I am in the camp which thinks the new substructure already exists for a strong new ‘estate’ of inventive, articulate (even if their metier is the image), critical guardians of democracy and its breeches. All the cream hasn’t yet risen to the top as it has in print and television commentary. But there are beachheads, in Canada anyway, with the likes of David Eaves or some of the writers at the online newspaper The Tyee and, occasionally, The Torontoist.

So, there is no cause for worry because, as a recent article by David Carr concludes:

Somewhere down in the Flatiron, out in Brooklyn, over in Queens or up in Harlem, cabals of bright young things are watching all the disruption with more than an academic interest. Their tiny netbooks and iPhones, which serve as portals to the cloud, contain more informational firepower than entire newsrooms possessed just two decades ago. And they are ginning content from their audiences in the form of social media or finding ways of making ambient information more useful.

 

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Twitter . . . Why Bother? http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/10/4/twitter-why-bother.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/10/4/twitter-why-bother.html#comments Sun, 04 Oct 2009 20:18:41 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:5368009 Maybe it isn't enough to denounce silly sniping at Twitter - as I did in the previous post - without making a case for why bother exchanging 140 characters with some friends and many more people I've never met.

How about because:

  1. You can use Twitter to reinforce the legitimate personal need to provide value through your comments, links, humor and polemic . . . I do.
  2. Twitter, as Andrew Keen said last Friday at a panel discussion with Clay Shirky, is pure, by which I think he means it is direct and surprisingly transparent.
  3. Twitter posts expose personality, your own and that of others, better than dinner party conversation. You learn a lot about people by what they contribute and how they participate.
  4. Twitter has some many political and social uses as evidenced by last June's elections in Iran. Jim Gilliam, creator of the Twitter petition tool called act.ly says his 'tweet change' tool makes it possible 'for anyone to pounce on an opportunity, no matter how small, without the run-up and vetting and committee meetings that traditional advocacy groups might have to churn through before they act.'
  5. It can be, says web strategist Jermiah Oywang, a shared feed reader, chat room, listening tool, traffic driving tool, and note space.
  6. People direct me to great stories, edgy ideas and very occasionally products (usually wine) that I would not find otherwise.

In other words, assuming you choose the right people to follow (and by "right" I mean those who you want as part of a community of interest) Twitter helps build fruitful, lively, and perspicacious reciprocal relationships.

If you have an extra six minutes, watch this video about why others like Twitter.

 

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Maybe it isn’t enough to denounce silly sniping at Twitter – as I did in the previous post – without making a case for why bother exchanging 140 characters with some friends and many more people I’ve never met.

How about because:

  1. You can use Twitter to reinforce the legitimate personal need to provide value through your comments, links, humor and polemic . . . I do.
  2. Twitter, as Andrew Keen said last Friday at a panel discussion with Clay Shirky, is pure, by which I think he means it is direct and surprisingly transparent.
  3. Twitter posts expose personality, your own and that of others, better than dinner party conversation. You learn a lot about people by what they contribute and how they participate.
  4. Twitter has some many political and social uses as evidenced by last June’s elections in Iran. Jim Gilliam, creator of the Twitter petition tool called act.ly says his ‘tweet change’ tool makes it possible ‘for anyone to pounce on an opportunity, no matter how small, without the run-up and vetting and committee meetings that traditional advocacy groups might have to churn through before they act.’
  5. It can be, says web strategist Jermiah Oywang, a shared feed reader, chat room, listening tool, traffic driving tool, and note space.
  6. People direct me to great stories, edgy ideas and very occasionally products (usually wine) that I would not find otherwise.

In other words, assuming you choose the right people to follow (and by “right” I mean those who you want as part of a community of interest) Twitter helps build fruitful, lively, and perspicacious reciprocal relationships.

If you have an extra six minutes, watch this video about why others like Twitter.

 

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