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February 10, 2007

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» The Failure of We (the) Media from Skrentablog
In the wake of the latest We Media event last week the usual round of self-flagellation by a group of attendees is occurring. David Cohn wishes We Media was an unconference. Scott Karp acknowledges that media companies need to make... [Read More]

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Common Japanese words

Yes, more about doing. I agree.

Richard S

Nice comment Dale - I look forward to hearing about the good things that came out of Miami.

Dale Peskin

Richard,

The lesson in Groundhog Day, a favorite movie, is the existentialism that we live the same day over and over again until we get it right.

Like you, I say enough to the us-vs.-them, I-get-it-you-don't crowd. They are as boorish as the arrogant Phil Connors, the weatherman played by Bill Murray in the movie.

In the end, Connors gets it right. We will, too. But only by trying and doing with folks from a variety of perspectives, ideas and actions.

Mark Glaser got We Media Miami wrong. He arrived in Miami with a preconceived notion about the weather. Then he issued an inaccurate and predicatable report. I expected better.

We Media is a conversation, not the last word. In Miami, as in New York and London, there were differences and disagreements among those who attended and watched. But tangible actions and collaborations have come from each conference.

Sometimes it feels as if we awaken each morning to the annoyong strains of "I Got You Babe," the Sonny-and Cher diddy that haunted a repeatable life in Groundhog Day.

And sometimes the song sounds pretty good.

Dale

Dale Peskin
iFOCOS and the We Media conference

Richard s

Well perhaps we're into the semantics of what constitutes a "struggle" but, tell you what, let's meet up here in 10 years time and see how it looks.....

Cameron Reilly

Richard, whether or not the TV networks disappear is another issue. My argument is that you suggested there isn't a power struggle going on.

We, the people, want more control over our media than we currently have. We are taking it (control) away from big media companies. Whether we take it partly away or entirely away remains to be seen. But ten years from now, the big TV networks and NYT will have less power than they had in the past and we will have more. Unless they are going to willingly give it up, I’d say that meets every definition of a struggle.

Richard s

Cameron:
Well, nice try to box me into one of three “rationales” - none of which will stand up. But none of them represents my view. I don’t doubt the impact of new media and believe it is without question a force for good - and have said so many times. The public have far more say and control over media and public debate; “old media” are being forced to be more transparent and accountable. But if anyone thinks the TV networks and the New York Times are about to disappear and we will all be happy with our RSS feeds or digg.com they are living in a fantasy world. That’s why it’s about integration. Will things be the same in ten years? Of course not. Any media organisation can only survive if it serves the needs of its audience or the public and as those needs and expectations change, so will the media adapt to meet them. The great news for all of us is the choice and ability to participate that the internet has opened up will mean the future is better than the past. But the idea that there is some titanic “us v them” struggle going on to bring down the barricades is a heroic fantasy that has little to do with the way the world works.

Suw - I apologise, I didn't mean to indicate any disrespect for you, far from it! I did think you overstated it last year (but as you say disagreeing doesnt mean disrespect). I accept many others agreed with you and of course I was part hosting the thing for the BBC. I suspect the We Media model is trying to encompass too many things under one roof and I certainly think it's time to move on....Your point about showing what our creative teams can do rather than have executives bluff on the subject is really what I mean when I say the time for talking is over - this year must be about doing. (As for "fulminating", as with many of my adjectives, it should have a ;-) attached xx)

Suw Charman

Come now Richard, you might disagree with me, but is there any need to call me 'fulminating'? That's a bit dismissive, even defensive, isn't it?

The reality is that WeMedia hasn't built any bridges, because in order to build bridges you actually need to have constructive conversations with all parties involved. And WeMedia has failed to do that. How can you have a conversation when only one side of the debate gets to speak?

WeMedia last year made the same mistake that Edelman has: 'zooifying' bloggers, having a few 'examples of the species' in the form of the appallingly named 'digital assassins'. Is that having a conversation or is it objectifying bloggers as 'other'? That doesn't build bridges, it's not integration - it's a clear indication that someone, somewhere, really doesn't get it.

But one thing you are right about - this isn't an either/or power struggle. Funnily enough, pretty much every blogger I know will agree with me on that. It's a debate I was having over two years ago, which many people had before me, and which I had hoped we'd settled. There is both room for and a need for symbiosis, but if all you see is a struggle twixt blogger and MSM, and you're seeing it at WeMedia, then that's further proof that they've got it wrong. Funny, really, this accusation that bloggers are against journalists does so frequently seem to come from the journalists themselves.

If you want to move on from the versus debate, then you have to stop having a poke at bloggers and start having a chat with us instead. The BBC did itself a disservice last year when it decided to focus not on the amazing innovators and creators you have internally who are walking the walk, but on executives who are really still learning how to talk the talk.

And you're barely even touching the wonderful web 2.0 tools that are out there. Look at what Adrian Holovaty is doing at the Washington Post. Look at what you can achieve with Django or Ruby on Rails. The BBC has the capability to attract such amazing talent, but you have to actually let them be creative and not give in to the institutional obsession with 'the talent'.

I remember when we met that I had a lot of respect for just how much you, personally, seemed to understand blogging and social software. But please, don't dismiss me just because you disagree with me. Building bridges sometimes involved having conversations with people you don't agree with.

Graham

I'm not sure he's saying there is a power struggle beyond the misconceived, ill-informed - and so drawn out already it's not real - bloggers vs. old media/old media vs. bloggers thing going on. Integration is the keyword. And I hope it will be the epitaph of 2007 - in a good way.

And on a conference note. Maybe it's time for the we, us, them, me, you, mine media conferences to knock it on the head. I'm sure relatively small, unstaged and open - as in blogged/podcasted/wikied - headbanging sessions between interested parties would achieve more than the We Media megashows.

And by 'interested', I'm not only referring to the financially interested, more the interested as in passionate whatever their beliefs.

Cameron Reilly

Richard, what is your rationale for saying it isn't a power struggle? I can only think of three reasons why you would say that.

1. You don't believe there is a desire, on behalf of audiences, to have more power over the media they consume.

2. You don't believe any "power struggle" will succeed because "old media" is just too big, politically protected and cashed up for "the people" to take power away from it.

3. Or... You do believe people want it, you do believe they will try succeed to taking it... but because you work for the old guard you're just hoping that if you keep your eyes closed, and say "Kansas, Kansas, Kansas" over and over again while clicking your heels, it will all just go away?

I think the RIAA tried that over the last ten years but maybe they didn't have the right fairy dust?

cheers
Cameron Reilly
CEO, The Podcast Network (www.thepodcastnetwork.com) &
Host of Australia's #1 podcast G'Day World (www.gdayworld.com)

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