I posted this one over at Harold's Kids.
For those of you who don't know, Burson-Marsteller has a New Media Team, which, incidentally, is one of my favorite Burson-Marsteller programs.
Why? Because the current media landscape is changing so feverishly that it’s (sadly) incredibly easy to miss out on the latest and greatest buzz being discussed in various communities. The New Media Team is a step in the right direction for attempting to address this onslaught of change (good change, mind you) that’s happening each and every day.
New Media Team discussions are free-form slices of pie of varying flavors and dimensions, and are great chances for us to share what we’ve each been seeing, hearing and doing out "there."
Let's go into this "there" thing a bit more...
The common analogy to new media is that it’s like the Wild West right now, and, despite how much i dislike corny and overplayed analogies and metaphors, there’s actually quite a bit of truth to this one. Everyone is staking their claims in various communities, but by no means is one single person or institution a bona fide expert. We are all vying.
(A wordy aside: Right image [not included here] should not be confined to the cow"boy" mentality, per se, because, well, we all know cow"girls" did and do exist... They're very real, too. I just didn't have time to photoshop long locks of hair on our hero there. No, this image could/should just be interpreted as a cow"person" who's making a foray into wonderfully uncharted things, be they whatever you wish. A closing remark: the only stipulation I had while searching for this image was that it could in no way, shape or form be from the tragic 1999 film "Wild Wild West," which, as we know all too well, starred Will Smith, Salma Hayek and a metal robot spider. Quite simply, this was a wretched piece of cinematography that cost millions and millions of dollars to make. A proverbial "Waterworld," if you will. The horror.)
No, social media, by its undefined definition, is too viral to have classes, too infantile to be mature or pretentious and far too new for anyone/anything to be an all-knowing source. People, there are no rules here! In fact, that’s really what new media’s all about anyway. Anyone can play. We can all publish. We become our own authors, our own voices, our own little brands heaved with caution or carelessness to the blogosphere and myriad click-of-a-button publishing galaxies in between.
Publications are embracing these tools because, well, honestly, they’re kind of dying on the vine. They have to play nice. They have to start incorporating multimedia and other interactive elements on their sites because that's what people are eating up. For anyone who follows, say, maybe 100 people on Twitter, especially some of the major players who Tweet on average 50 times a day, it takes you little time to realize it’s a goldmine for real-time news. It’s hard for me to recount the number of times I’ve discovered news first on Twitter, only to read about it hours or, gasp, days later in formal publications. They just can’t keep up with their hulking beats, lead-times, editors, advertisers, etc. But Twitter is just one small example. A great, popular example no doubt, but still just one. There's so much more to come.
I really feel like we are at the beginning of what will be, and already is in many ways, a great reformation of the way people create, disseminate and consume news. For sensationalists like me, it’s quite thrilling and empowering being able to engage and share things like we do.
So that was long. But yes. The answer is yes. The Burson-Marsteller New Media Team is very worthwhile and a breath of fresh air. While it’s true that all of these new mediums might not be the best fit for every single client on any agency's roster, it behooves us as PR professionals to be on the bleeding edge of all of this wizardry that’s taking place here. Because someday it will be entirely relevant for just about everybody.
We have too big of a stake in this to not be knowledgeable about it.