Death Watch: Marketing and advertising have an important place in the complex media ecosystem

We have a tendency to assume that a law of physics applies equally to the media world. In physics, according to Newton’s third law of motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

This odd assumption crossed my mind to me as I was reading last night. In the he book I was reading, the author argued that, thanks to the Internet, geography doesn’t matter any more. Under Newton’s law, this makes sense:

Action: The Internet has given us access to everybody everywhere all the time.
Reaction: Geography is no longer a factor in our interactions.

In truth, though, our complex and messy world does not abide by such clear-cut rules.… Read More »

Death Watch: Feeds are important, but widgets still work

Twitter and Facebook’s rising popularity have altered the online habits of more than a few people. Given the volume of information that comes our way through the tweets and status updates of those we follow, many are now convinced that the news finds us.

Certainly I discover a lot of interesting news by way of shortened URLs embedded in tweets, and the recent use of Twitter to direct Central Texans to the site of a hospital treating victims of the Fort Hood shootings exemplifies the ways Twitter increasingly is being used as a news delivery vehicle. But given the speed with which tweets fly by, I’m bound to miss a lot of news if I’m… Read More »

Death watch: Static destination websites

I understood Jonathan Schwartz’s enthusiasm when he suggested, during a talk a couple years ago, that a Sun Microsystems intranet really wasn’t necessary with so many employees blogging. It still didn’t make any sense to me, though. Would it really be easier to find benefits information on employee blogs than on an intranet benefits page? And how, exactly, would an employee enroll for benefits on a blog?

The same kinds of thoughts cross my mind as I hear all the claims that static web sites are dead. The rise of social media and the real-time web has certainly shifted the focus of the online community. There is no question: The era of… Read More »

One role for print: making dull messages stand out

Communicating mundane messages to employees is one of the tasks that has been made harder for internal communicators by the adoption of Web 2.0 capabilities on internal networks.

Consider, for example, the communication of a benefits enrollment deadline. There’s little that gets communicated inside companies duller than employee benefits information. But employees still paid attention 20 years ago because the reminder was one of a few messages being broadcast to employees. Back then, the role of communications was to produce one-way, top-down messages to ensure employees knew what they needed to know (like, for instance, not missing… Read More »

Serendipity: A strength of print

I was thumbing through my Sunday newspaper earlier this week when I came upon a full-page feature that, despite the dullness of the topic and my own lack of interest in government finance, drew me in. “State Budget 101” featured a cartoon professor walking you through a plain-English explanation of the key issues underlying California’s budget crisis with simple-to-understand charts and graphs. Here’s what it looked like:

Shel Holtz

It struck me, as I dug into the feature, that this is the kind of thing that newspapers should be doing. Enough innovative, useful material like this could entice a lot of people back to reading the daily dead-tree… Read More »

Deathwatch Case File #2: RSS

In a post on November 17, 2008, I created the Death Watch list, a rundown of various media whose death has been widely predicted. This is the second in a series of posts that takes a deeper dive into these.

imageA meme suggesting that Twitter is poised to replace RSS has been swirling through the social media space, but I largely ignored it as preposterous until Steve Gillmor reiterated and expanded on the suggestion in TechCrunch IT post. Gillmor, a contributing editor to ZDNet and host of “The Gillmor Gang” podcast, offers perspectives that bely a remarkable depth of insight into social computing, making his observations worthy of… Read More »

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