Archive for June 2008

New Media Summit

June 30, 2008

I’ve just returned from the 2008 New Media Academic Summit in Chicago focusing on blogs, twitters, wikis and other social media.

While I occasionally read blogs, I never thought of writing one myself because, well…. who’d read it? Many blogs are like personal diaries. But blogs also are being used for corporate purposes, political purposes, travel purposes. They’re called genre blogs. That’s my type of blog, I decided.

My purpose is to blog about the professional and educational world of communications — the academic discipline broadly and Elon’s School of Communications specifically. I can be conversational here about our programs, our curriculum, what our students are doing, what our alums are doing, and how the world of communications is transforming so rapidly.

My audience? Because the blog is on the School’s web site, I hope that current and prospective students, inquiring parents, faculty colleagues, and those in media worlds will find useful perspectives and thought-provoking ideas here.

Here are seven thoughts gleaned from speakers at the New Media Academic Summit:

1. Three types of social networks are arising: personal sites (Facebook); professional sites (LinkedIn), and passion sites (fantasy sports, coffee afficianadoes).

2. Every year brings a new social media tool: blogs in 2005, YouTube in 2006, Facebook in 2007, Twitter in 2008. What’s next?

3. Social media are fundamentally disrupting the brand identity of every business and organization. A traditional communications model relies on consumption of information (we listen, watch, read), whereas a social media model relies on participation (we go online, blog, twitter). A traditional business model emphasizes institutional control of a message, whereas a social media model creates community conversation. One speaker put it bluntly: The brand will no longer be what the company says it is; it will become the sum of the conversations about it.

4. A Starbucks executive called social media “another lever to pull” to promote and improve the business. The web site mystarbucksidea.com asks customers to share ideas to make the Starbucks experience better, then customers discuss and vote on the ideas. The company now is rolling out changes based on customer feedback through social media.

5. Public relations is gaining the upperhand over advertising in the new media marketplace. Because of viral marketing and social media, there is confusion in the advertising industry on how to place paid messages, compared to public relations that generates free coverage and word-of-mouth.

6.┬áThe Rev. Jesse Jackson talked to summit participants about “cloggers and bloggers.” He noted that real change is created by people on the ground doing something, not by those who blow off steam just by writing about it. He called on bloggers to make sure they prompt action rather than just being a “clogger” in the public dialogue.

7. An estimated 100 million blogs exist worldwide. That number appears to have leveled off, with new blogs arising at about the same rate that blogs are abandoned. So as this one comes on board, goodbye someone.

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