Five Impacts of New Media

  on the press 
  Originally uploaded by Nick Sherman

Looking at new (or social) media, it is easy to see that there are some powerful forces driving change across our cultural, our social and even our political landscapes. These five impacts can be summarised, broadly as:

  • Experts coming under pressure from new voices who are early adopters of new technology
  • New organisations emerging to deal with the social, cultural and political changes
  • There is a struggle to revise the social and legal norms — especially in relation to intellectual property
  • The concepts of identity and community are transformed
  • New forms of language come into being
  • Educators are pressured to prepare their students for the newly emerging world

Now while this seems obvious, pause for a moment. This list comes from Elizabeth Eisenstein on the invention of the printing press, and while it speaks to us in our current state, these changes have actually been underway for hundreds of years.

Why is this important? Because the printing press … and for that matter, blogs, social networks, video and picture sharing tools, conversational and other "Web 2.0" sites are not just tools. They don’t just FACILITATE communication and interaction. They MEDIATE it. The impact of this is profound.

If the way that we understand the world is, in turn, mediated by it, then those brands that do NOT engage with new media are placed at a significant disadvantage. This goes beyond the question of whether your company or brand "should have a website" or a "blog", but whether it is important for you to be part of the web of signification that creates the worlds that we live in.

There is a great shift and a great debate still just beginning (remember, for all the joy and speed that comes with the Internet, we still buy books in record numbers). Can you and your brand afford to ignore these changes? Or worse — will you ignore the chance to engage with and SHAPE the future of media (and therefore our future lives)?

Given the ease with which you CAN engage, it’s not a question of how, but how much. Even dipping your toe in the water is a start. Begin here.

Oh, and if you want to go deeper, check out Michael Wesch’s presentation on Human Futures for Technology and Education. More power to you.

The Sweet Sorrow of Travel

I am spending this week in the US to attend some planning and strategy workshops — which means being caught in the no man’s land of business travel. For me, travel (for business or pleasure) is both exciting and frightening — no matter which country that I visit. It is something to do with the crossing of borders — of leaving one’s homeland and venturing into the world of another — for whenever I leave my country, I am also leaving my "self". It makes me wonder who I will find/arrive as, at my destination.

And whenever I travel, I am always, always reminded of Helene Cixous’ beautiful writing on borders:

When I cross a border, it’s my border I’m crossing, though I don’t know which one I’m crossing or which side I end up on. This is the charm of crossing the border. It is also what can constitute its distressing side: Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing, p 130.

The "distressing side" was never more clear to me than when I first visited Beijing, for while I had done some travel in Asia and visited the USA many times, it was my first visit to China which made me realise the true nature of borders — and the fact that they are not porous, but resolute. And while they exist only in our imaginations, or as dotted lines on maps, they also signal completely different ways of looking at, engaging with, and being in the world. Borders are ideas made concrete.

And understanding this makes me a much more curious passenger. It makes me more observant of those passing through. It makes me wonder about the stories carried within and around my fellow travellers. And it makes me aware of the fine tension that we all share enroute — caught in the out-of-placeness of airports.

So while I was sitting in the lounge waiting to board the plane, observing, I could also hear some gentle notes being picked out on an instrument. Over in the corner was a group of musicians, and one of them was plucking out a melody on a uke. To my surprise, I found it very relaxing. Soothing. And when I Twittered something about this, Brent Dixon responded with a link to Jake Shimabukuro’s rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps. And while I didn’t see it until I arrived, it was worth the wait. Amazing.

Goes to show that some things cross borders seamlessly — data, ideas, money. But for me? I hold my breath with every crossing.

Do You Run with Fast Company?

Fc011995 Years ago I was an avid reader of Fast Company. It contained a wealth of great, innovation and business focused content and featured writers who were pushing both the concept of journalism and the practice of business. Over the years I drift away and come back to Fast Company — perhaps this reflects moves in my career from a focus on corporate innovation across to B2B marketing and on to consumer marketing and life in an agency. But I always find a reason to come back to Fast Company … there is always some value to be unlocked.

And today I find myself returning again … with the announcement of this initiative. Now, anyone can become a member of Fast Company, contributing blog posts, questions and joining discussions. Apparently this will provide you with the chance to have your thoughts and writing sharing the same space as Fast Company writers like Ellen McGirt or Robert Safian or the new additions — Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. Certainly sounds interesting … and I will be keen to see how it actually works and whether this new extended and open network of the "Company of Friends" stimulates debate or whether it falls victim to social networking fatigue.

I, for one, am keen to see it succeed. I have already joined up — and you can too. Hope to see you there!

I ooVoo, Do You?

AoC MyOovooDay
Originally uploaded by servantofchaos

When I first heard about ooVoo, I must admit to being a little sceptical. I have been a user of Skype for many years and have grown used to it — though I mostly use it for voice, I do occasionally use the video conferencing option. And ooVoo felt, to me, like it had come late to the party.

But over the last few days I have been trying it out. I have made VOIP calls to the US and had one-to-one and multi-user chats with friends and with colleagues. And this morning, spent a very enjoyable hour or so chatting with folks all around the world as part of MyOovooDay. Kris Hoet and Luc Debaisieux linked in from Belgium late in their evening, Drew McLellan, J Erik Potter, Scott Monty, Joseph Jaffe, Susan Reynolds and Connie Reece joined from the USA and Efrain Mendicuti from Mexico. It really was a global conference.

The ease with which ooVoo allows us to connect has really changed my mind about video conferencing. The immediacy of video chat easily trumps Seesmic in my mind — and trounces the 140 character limitations of Twitter. While each of these have their place, ooVoo is feeling like a revolution to me.

I have even noticed that I stopped using the IM feature of ooVoo and jumped straight to a video chat. It helps make me feel more connected. I also captured some video and will share it with you soon. Lots of fun!

Cluetrain @ 10: Theses Revised

Webisagreement Late last year I revisited the Cluetrain Manifesto in a post called Why the Cluetrain Still Rings True. I had not realised that we were nearing the anniversary of its 10th year in publication until I noticed that one of the authors of the Cluetrain, Doc Searls, was being joined in a one day conference by Josh Bernhoff (Forrester), Peter Hirshberg (Technorati), Ted Shelton (The Conversation Group), Jake McKee (Ant’s Eye View) and Thor Muller (Get Satisfaction). During his talk, Doc Searls updated some of the 95 Theses (via Josh Bernoff):

1. Advertising as we know it will die.

2. Herding people into walled gardens and guessing about what makes them "social" will seem as absurd as it actually is. (Facebook is his example.)

3. We will realize that the most important producers are what we used to call consumers. (Yup.)

4. The value chain will be replaced by the value constellation. (Many connections.)

5. "What’s your business model?" will no longer be asked of everything. (What’s the business model for your kids?)

6. We will make money by maximizing "because effects". ("Because effects" are what happen when you make more money because of something than with it.) E.g. search and blogging.

8. We will be able to manage vendors at least as well as they manage us. (Agreements between companies and customers shouldn’t be skewed in favor of the companies.) At Harvard Law they call this VRM — vendor relationship management — which is what Searls is working on (

10. We’ll marry the live web to the value constellation. (The Live Web isn’t just about stars. Relationships of anybody to anybody.)

As I suggested in this post, the Cluetrain still holds sway over our imaginations because its promises are yet to be achieved. This is not a criticism, but in fact, indicates its visionary nature. Ten years on, the culture, approach and technology of social media now provide us with the desire and mechanisms with which to begin the Cluetrain journey, but the distance to travel is vast and the dangers many. That is why I like Paul Downey’s picture … it shows a cosmology of technologies, ideas and companies. But it is we, the people, who traverse it in microscopic form.

More thoughts to come on this … but what about you? Has the Cluetrain affected you? What is your journey story? Mine tomorrow.

Last Chance For Blogger Social

Tomorrow is February 15 — and that means you only have ONE DAY to organise yourself, make the commitment and pay for your tickets to Blogger Social. It will be a weekend full of socialising with some of the smartest bloggers this side of Saturn — lasting from Friday, April 4 to Sunday, April 6 in NYC.

I have been holding my breath hoping that my buddies Luc Debaisieux (mindblob) and Cam Beck (chaos scenario) can make it. And now, with only a day to go, I am pleased to be able to breathe easy again. Not only can they make it, there will be a host of others, including:

Susan Bird
Tim Brunelle
Katie Chatfield
Terry Dagrosa
Bs08button3_2Matt Dickman
Luc Debaisieux
Gianandrea Facchini
Mark Goren
Gavin Heaton
Sean Howard
Valeria Maltoni
Drew McLellan
Doug Meacham
Marilyn Pratt
Steve Roesler
Greg Verdino
CB Whittemore
Steve Woodruff
Paul McEnany
Ann Handley
David Reich
Tangerine Toad
Kristin Gorski
Mack Collier
David Armano
Ryan Barrett
Lori Magno
Tim McHale
Gene DeWitt
Mario Vellandi
Arun Rajagopal
Joseph Jaffe
Rohit Bhargava
Anna Farmery
Marianne Richmond
Thomas Clifford
Lewis Green
Geoff Livingston
Kris Hoet
Connie Reece
CeCe Lee
Toby Bloomberg
Seni Thomas
Darryl Ohrt
Joe Kutchera
Paul Dunay
Marshall Sponder
Chris Kieff
Tara Anderson
Jason Falls
Paul Soldera
Roberta Rosenberg
Saul Colt
Todd Andrlik
Nathan Snell
Ryan Karpeles
Mike Sansone
Jennifer Laycock
Neil Vineberg
Cam Beck
Mike Arauz
John Rosen

With a cast like that, it makes you want to race off and register, doesn’t it? Of course, so click here!

Remember, registration ends on Friday for this once-in-a-lifetime event. And keep in mind that if money and/or time is tight, you can sign up for either the Friday or Saturday events only. Just love to see you there!

My ooVoo Day? It’s An Age of Conversation, Baby

Snapshot2After participating in one of the My ooVoo Day sessions with my gracious host, Joseph Jaffe, I hung around to have a chat with Greg Verdino. It was pretty funky seeing the sort of live effects that can be used during the video chat … and while it is a novelty, it also add a fun dimension to the technology.

One of the things that I like about ooVoo is the quality. We easily had six participants with video feeds, all speaking and contributing to the conversation. And the idea behind the launch is great — meet some interesting folks, have a chat, use some cool technology and raise some money for a good cause — the Frozen Pea Fund. So, so far, so good.

But then, the indefatigable Drew McLellan came up with another idea. What about if he and I hosted our own chat — on the Age of Conversation? A couple of emails with the Crayon folks later, we were all systems go. So, now, your can sign up for one of 4×15 minute chats with Drew McLellan and myself. What are you waiting for? It doesn’t get much better than this 😉

Oh, and if you want to know what time/date it is in your timezone — try this. We are aiming for 4pm NYC time. That makes it Sunday, 8am in Sydney!


As I explained yesterday, February 13 is now a momentous day for Australia. The Parliament of Australia stands united in apologising to our indigenous population. And now the hard work begins.

Other writers share their thoughts and sentiments on a day when a single word, sorry, changes the way we view our own nation (please let me know if you want to be included):

And, of course, there are others who use digital media to articulate what today’s apology means for us all.

Missy Higgins

Add to My Profile | More Videos