We Media Miami Session on Internet & Community

From left to right: Lisa Stone, Jan Schaffer, Rick Skrenta, Ian Rowe, Shel Israel.

The first session here at WeMedia tried to address "How communities real and virtual are changing through media. "

Here is what the panelists had to say. I was especially impressed with Shel Israel. And it was interesting that every time the topic of big media v. little media came up, the moderators somehow redirected the conversation. It is possible that that facilitated the flow of ideas but still worth noting, especially as chat room participants thought big media was overrepresented in the room. (Were they trying to avoid the dominance of that debate on last year's WeMedia?)

Shel Israel
Author, Naked Conversations
His main point (to mostly journalists I assume) was that we no longer deliver media, we are media:

"People are finding each other by shared interests and geography is becoming irrelevant. The demographic is overwhelmingly young."

"What happens when this online generation comes of age and starts replacing boomers like me and how do we [boomers] communicate with them?"

"WE (traditional media) don't organize what THEY will get anymore. The community is taking its power. YOU (big Media) need to join the conversation. You should all be looking at what the world looks like in 10-20 years when the young online generation comes into the workplace."

Ian Rowe, MTV
He stressed the balance between self-publishing and personal responsibility. (Specifically, he referred to the instance where someone became famous for posting a video on youtube of someone beating up a homeless person.)

"We find we have to meet young people on issues they care about."
"Total customization can actually be a danger to the citizenry."
"In 2012 we may no longer have short form programming. A lot more input from young people in terms of the creative process. We want to reward positive behavior."

He added that MTV still wants to assure that there is a top down package coming to young people because they don't want them to only get info that they want, which might make their view of the world more narrow.

(My 2 cents: I have to say I kept asking myself: is the onslaught of mysogynistic gangsta rap on certain music channels an example of "responsibility" ? But then I remembered that I don't watch much MTV and therefore may not be the best judge. Still, to hear him talk today you'd think MTV was PBS. That, it's fair to say, is simply not the case.)

Jan Schaffer, J-Lab

She looks at the emergence of new journalism from a bottom up point of view. (She is also a Pulitzer Prize winner.) This was my second time meeting her as she basically delivered the Knight-Batten award GV received in DC last year.
J-Lab look at communities that are geographically based. Have grants to offer. Citizen's media are not acts of journalism but acts of community building and are outside the comfort zones of traditional journalists. Those citizens' media/community building projects don't make much money but find themselves successful because of their impact on community and local politics. Phenomenon growing rapidly: 500 such community sites.

Lisa Stone, BlogHer
Talked about how women are coming together online.

"Women are a majority of web users. Women are the power users of the web 2.0 movement. Blogher started as a conference in response to the question 'where are the women bloggers?' "

Needless to say she went on to explain how far women bloggers have come both in terms of numbers and influence, not to mention the gateway they represent to the female market. She also said that we've moved beyond mommy blogs who only blog about kidergarten curricula: "mommy bloggers" blogged profusely about Hillary/Obama candidacy announcements.

Farai Chideya, coming back from Zimbabwe shooting a documentary on her father's life had this to say:
"We [in the US] are living in a blessed bubble. [In Zimbabwe], everyone has cell phones but it can take a 1/2 hour to connect. They have Internet cafes but it takes 10 minutes to send an email."

She added that people know that online access would help them make their government accountable but the government is deliberately crushing infrastructure so that they are not threatened.

Media distribution tools

Eduardo Hauser, DailyMe
Take content that is online and distribute it otherwise. Taking technology beyond the computer screen. (DailyMe takes your content and delivers your newspaper personalized and free .)

Photo by Alex DeCarvalho

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for this very nice review. You hit my key points precisely. I apprecoiate it.

alexdc said...

Thanks for this summary and it was nice meeting you!

Alice B. said...

You are very welcome Shel. All the pleasure was mine listening to your talk.

Alice B. said...

Very nice meeting you too Alex. Thanks for organizing the blogger dinner!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your nice post!