Sunday, February 15, 2009

Step Three: Think Exo-Cartonic

As an omage to Dennis Miller and the exo-cartonic . . .

Saying that I encourage students to be exo-cartonic is important. Anyone can think outside of the box. This is a time of innovation, and we must be open to being early adopters. How long before mobile bandwidth and battery capacity overcomes the hurdles to hand-held streaming video? If we have invested our time into the revival of the written word presented to us by the rise of the web site, what happens if they become the static repositories of information? Usurped by a Twittering world, mobile app’ed to the latest news feeds. However, one can’t get outside the box until they know how the crate was built, and in fact, built a few boxes themselves.

Certainly, building a resume and quality experience is important. Making mistakes and reflecting upon them are even more so. When I taught the sports public relations course, one of the standing tasks for the students were the weekly mock press conferences. Some relished the chance to command the room; some squirmed at the thought. They made mistakes. They said things they regretted. But far better to make and learn from those mistakes in a classroom.

The other change we need to bring to the classroom is an understanding of the impact of social networking upon the news industry. The crowd is in control. More and more, they will vote with their browsers for what they find important. There is a fine balance between the information they want and the journalism they need.

We must be ready to relate with the audience. The essence of Web 2.0 is the interaction. Freedom of speech is fully enabled by the Net. The result is the rise of the people formerly known as the audience. They will add information to stories. They will provide feedback. They are no longer just subscribers; they are now part of the process. More and more, they seek to have dialog with the media. And, the more Participatory Media grows, the more they trust it.

This isn’t some X-Files, government conspiracy, the truth is out there rant; people believe those they know more. The faceless byline that brings them information is not as effective as a member of the community.

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