Friday, April 12, 2013

They Say You Can't Fight the Future

Andrew Branch writes of his experience with a early January basketball game, and not getting to bring his homework into the PNC Arena.  The heart of the matter was the arena's ban on any tablets, and Branch writes a column detailing the folly of same for the Raleigh News and Observer.

I enjoy this story on many levels.

Zoe Barnes Rule No. 1.  Andrew Branch proved it again -- you talk to me, you're talking to 1,000 people.  More accurately, you piss me off, you risk being the subject of derision of my 1,000 friends.  If you get some bounce, you'll be in a clipping service.  And forwards, which is how I saw it -- a forward to me from the CFAA's Elite Clips.  Then in traditional media.  And so it rolls.  Did you catch the timeline here?  It happened Jan. 12.  He carried that burr under his saddle until posting the story April 12.  It will not make the rounds probably into May.  Andrew is a very Zoe character.  A senior at NC State, you can read on his Twitter feed how he's excited about the regular paper exposure.  Again, here is the intern who has access to a platform to shine a light on a problem.

Gillmor strikes again.  Back in 2008 at CoSIDA, I hosted Dan Gillmor on a panel about dealing with the "new media." In that Olympic year, Dan predicted that as the technology for a HD camera in everyone's hand was on the horizon it would become impossible for the type of embargoes and bans the IOC and others attempted to enforce.  Why bring that up?  To point out that this is not some new issue -- how many famous bands from the 60s have "bootleg" recordings of concerts -- and it isn't going away.

Rules are made to be enforced.  PNC Arena sure stuck by that mantra, to the point of understanding the absurdity.  Reminds me of the institutional ban on umbrellas at University of Arkansas.  Every venue.  Including Bud Walton Arena and Barnhill Arena.  In the winter.  When it rains.  So ushers would force patrons to pile up their umbrellas at the door.  Clearly, an outdoor venue rule that makes sense -- you don't want all those open umbrella obstructing views and dangerous eye-poking.

A little discretion goes a long way.  This story never happens if the security guard checks the tablet, sees its a non-video, non-backlight device and looks the other way.  See rule one.  Security guard obviously more concerned about the potential reprimand from superiors if the kid gets caught later.

The world is social; deal with it.  Yankee Stadium to Barclays Center -- they don't want the tablets to interfere.  Movie theaters threaten patrons with expulsion for checking phones or texting, much less recording.  What in the world are you all going to do when Google succeeds with Glass?  Or Samsung.  I notice in the story the student was quick to point out the mixed signal -- take photos during the game, interact with the video board, use your phone as a second screen in venue.

It comes into a package for the general publicity person in this way.  Today, I shot our cello ensemble for a lunchtime concert.  Two students stood with iPhones making their own recordings.  They are my competition.  Do I stop them and say, HEY this is our venue?  They'll likely get their video up to the internet first -- and first wins in SEO . . . . for a while.  When I post mine later today, and more next week, I have to count on quality to carry me eventually past them.

Content.  Context.  Competition.  Try those three Cs to push your messaging along. Spend less time worrying about what student is bringing what into the venue.

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