Following the debate at BJIT last Thursday, I was surprised by some old-fashioned statements that certain panel members put forward. What struck me the most was that not all communication professionals are convinced of the added value of new media for both journalists and media companies as a brand.
The debate got heated when Pol Deltour, national secretary of the Vlaamse Vereniging van Journalisten, stated that Twitter is a threat to the journalist’s personal brand and a danger for the credibility of the media he is working for. In his eyes, social media changes the way journalists are perceived: as marketers rather than journalists. But haven’t journalists always been marketers? Aren’t we, in fact, all marketers of our personal brand? Like Alain Gerlache, journalist at RTBF, says: “Journalists are a brand”. They are the face of a media channel! People read newspapers because journalists are writing qualitative articles about topics that interest them in a way that pleases them.
Traditional media shouldn’t worry, good content is still king. But the game has become more complex. Accept the fact that scoops no longer exist as speed is the new normal in a world where people are 24/7 confronted with an information overload. Have faith in your journalists. They are capable of using the same common sense they use in their stories online! So please, embrace new media as a way to leverage the brand.
Frankly, I can’t possibly think of a better way than to let journalists syndicate the good content they and their colleagues produce and engage in a discussion afterwards. This leads to more active engagement from the audience and helps build long-term relationships with them as a consumer. Rather than fearing new media, journalists and media companies should try to use them strategically to leverage their (personal) brand, build credibility and establish authority.
Just so you know, Reuters’ social media policy embraces the fact that journalists have (a desire for) a personal brand.
Thomas Lommée, owner of the design studio Intrastructures in Brussels, believes the world has changed. The world we now live in is no longer hierarchical, it is a network society. People are not only connected to each other, but also to producers and products. Only hours, or even minutes, after a product launch, reactions and reviews are published. Today’s world is all about dialogue. Someone blogs about it, someone else reads that blog post and designs a new application for the product involved, a third person customizes, repares or hacks it, someone posts a ‘how to’ video on YouTube, etc. The essential is everyone does something with the product. Users are no longer passive receivers. Moreover, they put it online!! The beauty is the product evolves constantly without the producer interfering. A new eco-system of product development is born. But how exactly is an efficient dialogue shaped?
Thomas Lommée has illlustrated his vision of today’s world in a new Peer-to-peer communication model that focuses on product development, the area in which he, as a designer, is the most active.
In his opinion, the Internet and this new, horizontal, network society are promising omens of new social dimensions. He strongly believes that, more than ever, we are evolving into a more active, more engaged society that allows user initiatives.
What fascinates me the most is the level of importance he attributes to the Internet and social media. The Internet and social media allow you to connect with people from all over the world in just seconds. Next to that the Internet is the place where knowledge is accumulated at an ever growing pace. In fact, what he believes is the message that many professional 2.0 communicators have been trying to spread for several years: people are not careless egocentric individuals. On the contrary, more than ever, people are willing and motivated to share their knowledge and to help other people. The fact that they can do so individually, from behind a computer screen or from their Smartphone, is just a mere contradiction in the new society.
Keywords for Open Design are: transparancy, usability, active end-users, self-improving products and open producers.
From a communications professional as well as from an entrepeneurial point of view, this is exactly what is so interesting. Companies should be open to these new relationships and concepts as they generate new opportunities, innovative ideas/concepts/products/etc… It is beneficial for the end-users as well as for the producers. The benefits for the end-users have already been discussed above; the benifts for the entrepreneurs? Innovations lead to what companies are interested in the most: generating revenue, making profit and $$$$$$$$$$$$$. Or am I mistaken? 😉
However, there is one question that remains unanswered in this story… ‘Is the Internet a catalyst for this new world order or is it the foundation, the corner stone that has laid the basis?’. But maybe that just isn’t important…
What’s your opinion?
To found out more about Thomas Lommée, his company and his projects, visit his website, Infrastructures.net.
Source: Knack Weekend (a Belgian lifestyle magazine), n°41, p. 126-134.
More and more businesses are expressing interest in social media and slowly but surely companies are diving into the SoMe pool. However, many companies are diving with their eyes shut, hitting rock bottom, hurting their business head and pulling back asap. They often don’t understand that it takes more than just their presence to succeed. It is crucial Social & Digital Media professionals educate clients that wish to dive in the social media pool! And what better way than a simple – but oh so efficient – infographic…
This magnificent Infographic distinguishes 14 logical steps a company needs to go through to start off their Social Media adventure. As Sasha Gaya once stated, if a picture says a thousand words, an infographic says a million…
Originally developed by @B2Bento, a B2B Marketing Agency in Singapore.