“Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.”
This quote, from the outspoken American poet, Allen Ginsberg, seems to have particular resonance in today’s digital world – and provides an apt starting point for this installment of the digital literacy series. According to the bio on his estate website, “…the foundation of Ginsberg’s work was the notion that one’s individual thoughts and experiences resonated among the masses.”
Ginsberg died in 1997, before the advent of Facebook and Twitter (Mark Zuckerberg was only 13), and just as the idea of “blogging” was becoming mainstream. We live in a time where literally anyone can produce and share content almost instantaneously with an unlimited audience (blog). People can unite around shared ideas and experiences – it’s Ginsberg’s vision gone viral.
In a previous post in this series, we discussed the democratization of media (a concept Ginsberg would be a huge fan of) – that traditional media no longer has ownership or control of what the pubic consumes. Perhaps one of the most democratizing tools at the modern individual’s disposal is the blog.
To get a better idea of the power of the blog, and the impact of digital media on traditional media, I spoke to a true expert and one of Canada’s top bloggers, Mark Evans (@markevans).
Evans is principal of ME Consulting and author of several blogs including Mark Evans Tech and Sysomos’ corporate blog, and a regular column for the Globe and Mail. His impressive resume also includes ten years as a technology journalist for the National Post, Globe and Mail and Bloomberg News. He is also an organizer of the mesh conference and co-founder of the Canadian Blog Directory.
What impact has digital media had on traditional media?
It goes without saying that digital media has had a major and radical impact on traditional media. It has changed how content is consumed and created, had a tremendous impact on business models, changed the economics of traditional media, and led to massive consolidation.
Your career has seen you go from working in traditional media to being named one of Canada’s best technology bloggers in 2009. What new power has blogging given you?
After leaving traditional media in 2006, I’ve been able to use blogs and social media to compete against traditional sources or, at least, provide people with an alternative to get value-added content.
What does traditional media look like in the future?
Traditional media will be much smaller but it will not disappear. People will continue to consume information in a variety of ways, including digital.
Why should top executives in traditional media be paying attention to digital media and what can they do to keep up?
Traditional media executives have no choice but to pay lots of attention to digital media and where it’s going. The reality is digital media is on the rise, while traditional media is declining. The key is managing the tradition that balances the needs of readers and, at the same, time, allows traditional media to stay economically viable. Needless to say, it will be a challenging balancing act.