At events, I find myself constantly surrounded by people who consider themselves “experts” just because they’ve wielded a pocket camera and a badge with a custom URL on it. Expertise comes from time served, lessons learned, and community activity.
Mind you, I’m just an enthusiast.
Remember when your computer was “multimedia” capable? That meant it had a sound card and a CD-ROM drive (potentially capable of 2x reading speed). That’s where it all began. Suddenly, “media” wasn’t just for journalists. I must thank Jim Louderback for reminding me of this functionally-proper (yet incredibly outdated) term.
Didn’t take long before the world was abuzz with the sights and sounds of “digital media.” This seemingly encompassed a set of tools which could instantly facilitate the creation of content. Analog became yesterday’s news. We traded in our cassettes and VHS tapes for CDs and DVDs, printed material for Web sites.
A business card seemed impressive when you had “Digital Media” somewhere in your title. Right?
Then came something called “new media.” Few could define its scope, though some might argue that this was nothing more than a “more lemony fresh” form of digital media. Perhaps the term only served to separate the “new blood” from the “old army” in terms of content publishing. One no longer needed to be a media powerhouse to get their message from point A to point B. The Internet was seemingly a more level playing field for publishers of all sizes.
A business card seemed impressive when you had “New Media” somewhere in your title. Right? Hardly see it anymore – when it was all the rage just a few short years ago.
And now, we currently stare down the barrel of something called “social media.” This is new, digital media worth sharing, no? Certainly. Fueled by a series of tools (connected by a series of tubes known as the Internet), when one pushes something out to their connected communities – it’s suddenly social. Makes sense. It’s largely seen as self-serving media, or serving-someone-else’s-self media. Sharing doesn’t imply caring.
Oh, and… a business card seems impressive when you put “Social Media” somewhere in the title. If only I could come up with a word to describe the deep and heavy sigh I exhaled as I wrote that sentence.
Producers love “digital media” because it saves them time and space; publishers love “new media” because it cuts costs and increases distribution; marketers and PR agents love “social media” because they finally have a chance to pitch to the masses without fear of reprisal.
So, what’s next? “New” is old news, “digital” is mandatory, and “social” is implied (unless your activity remains completely private). Once the wired grows tired of the catchphrase du jour, a new one will be borne and business cards can once again be refreshed safely.
What about “Pancake Media?”
Seems appropriate, given the…
- ever-increasing stack of tools at our disposal;
- insatiable appetite for creation;
- syrupy sweetness that inevitably comes wrapped around the connection of disparate pieces;
- byte-sized chunks being easy to chew on;
- limited amount one might digest before feeling full;
- need to feed and fuel one another;
- appropriateness to eat at any time;
- propensity to share what we’re eating, anyway;
- endless list of tasty toppings; and
- inherent need to end world hunger, one way or another.
More to the point, the next step in this cacophony of content is actually doing something with it (something Chris Brogan and I were briefly discussing the other day – and I’m not just name-dropping). We see certain aspects of this already, with some people content in providing knowledge, information, and general help.
“Social Media” ain’t shit if it’s not making the world a better place.
Is this turning into a manifesto?
I never expect that phrase to catch on – if only because it sounds equally as stupid as the term “social media.” Of course, those with “social media” somewhere on their current business cards would likely defend the phrase to the death. Remember, “Social Media Experts” are quite frequently nothing more than marketers in tweep’s clothing. The next time you meet one of ’em, tell them that “Pancake Media” is REALLY where it’s at.
Saving the world, one pancake at a time. Whatever the hell that means.