Monday, May 04, 2009

KOM's Brave New Media Talking Points

We thought you might be interested in a peek preview of some the issues that will raised at tonight's (4 May) Digital Nation Seminar:

1. Old Media is all about “push” while New Media is all about “pull”.

When you talk about the future of media we should be using words like ‘push’ and ‘pull’. The established broadcast and print media is a 'push' medium. In simple terms, that means a select group of producers decide what content is to be created, create it and then print it or push it down a pipe to an audience. The Internet on the other hand is a 'pull' medium. Nothing comes to you unless you choose it. You're in charge.”

2. The assumption of the old broadcast and print media model was that audiences were passive and uncreative but with the spread of Broadband Internet that is changing.

Take blogging for example, - the practice of keeping an online diary. What the blogging phenomenon suggests is that the traffic in ideas and cultural products isn't a one-way street. People have always been articulate and well-informed, but until now few have broken into print or broadcast. Blogging and the Internet has changed all that and given people the platform they needed.

3. Keeping secrets is another interesting media change.

If one of your products doesn’t work properly then it’s going to pop up on a blog somewhere. Today’s, consumers are better informed and have the tools at their finger tips to search for information on companies and their products. That kind of coverage doesn’t generally appear in your daily paper or on the local news, does it?

4. The other explosion has been in the use of digital photography.

For example, sites like allow people to upload their pictures and display them on the web. The most fascinating aspect of it is that users can attach tags to their pictures and these tags can be used to search the entire database. I looked for photographs tagged with ‘Oman’ and came up with 95,402 images. Ten years ago, those images would’ve ended up in a photo album – today, they’re on the Internet and viewed by millions. This is a perfect example of new media and it has tremendous reach.

We’re witnessing a remarkable change – the creation of news is being driven bottom-up rather than top-down and it’s the power and reach of the Internet that’s doing that.

5. What’s the difference between New and Traditional Media?

I see a couple of differences between New Media (that collection of network-based, computer chip-enabled electronic communication tools) and traditional media (radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, etc.).

The first is that communication is no longer one way. Sure, we had letters to the editor and in North America you could have your own public access television show, but for the average media consumer, there was no real chance of being heard before New Media. That’s definitely new for most of us.

Secondly, the time compression is phenomenal. For example, magazine editors would spend a month doing the work it takes to put out the publication and then wait two weeks for printing and shipping before anyone could even read their work. Today, you post it online and you get an immediate reaction. Being able to be heard quickly by people who are communicating with you is what sets New Media apart from traditional print and broadcast media.

6. What’s New Media got over traditional print and broadcst media? I think truly crucial is the combination of:

(a) universal access to simple publishing tools (meaming anyone can ‘publish’ content – blogs, flickr, facebook, YouTube, etc); and

(b) powerful social bookmarking and aggregation services - meaning anyone can be be heard if they publish something of interest and value.

7. Where are the New Media trends?

The answer lies within the Internet and people’s desire for fresh entertainment! Networking and video-sharing websites are the biggest thing happening within the web. These internet phenomenons have bet set-up to target consumer groups such as students and other young adults. Networking website like Myspace and Facebook have caught people’s attention day after day. From custom options to user programmed applications, these profile sites are where the audiance gather and share interesting entertainment, the latest trends and other media.

8. Let’s put things in perspective, shall we?

The Digital Dividend Organisation notes that there are more telephones in New York City than in all of rural Asia, and as much as 80% of the world's population has never made a phone call. The net connects over 100 million computers, but that represents less than 2% of the world's population.' (Caslon Analytics) From these statistics, it is clear that most of the world is being left behind, while 2% of the population slowly gains complete technological power.

9. What is the role of New Media in advancing social goals and economic development in developing countries?

Examples in developing countries include the use of cell phones by Kenyan farmers to market crops, the Internet as a job-finding tool for slum dwellers in India, educational radio soap operas for tribal communities in Afghanistan and social networking support for goods distribution in rural China.

10. What could we be doing in Oman to leverage the power and reach of New Media?

Come along to the Grand Hyatt Hotel at 7:30pm on Monday 4 May and let's us know what you think!

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