I wonder how many mainstream media editors and publishers have blogs, Facebook accounts and Twitter feeds? I ask this question because I wonder how many of them know what they don’t know.
The most dangerous thing happening in the news industry today isn’t so-called evil aggregators such as Google and the HuffingtonPost or the under-30-somethings’ stubborn refusal to pay for content. It’s the fact that many senior newsroom and executive suite staffers are effectively disconnected and illiterate online. Until they are fully immersed in the web, fully participating, they can’t possibly be able to see their way through to solving the very real issues we as an industry face.
Is it possible to truly understand the power of the link economy until you have watched in amazement as a single blog post generates thousands of page views from around the world as readers link to you from their blogs, Facebook and Twitter pages? Is it possible to really understand the importance of building community on your website if you’ve never fully engaged in an online community yourself? Is it possible to understand the emerging importance of the immediacy of the web if you haven’t twitchingly checked your Twitter account from your iPhone every 2 minutes waiting for someone to RT something you’ve tweeted? What if you don’t know what RT means?
Trying to build strategies for the web 2.0 (or 3.0) world without these basics would be like trying to learn how to swim without getting wet. It would be like the president of Toyota not knowing how to drive. It can’t be done.