As someone who has long been a critic of Web 2.0 (whatever that is) and the brave new world of web shiny, almost nothing surprises me that’s done in the name of social or new media (whatever that is).
For a generation(s) that is allegedly very media savvy (I’m not completely sure what generation this media savvy generation is, for the sake of argument, let’s say it begins with Gen Y) I’m often underwhelmed with the assumption of media savy-ness when I spot the corporate junk and spam that is being slopped as new media.
You don’t have to be a genius to recognize that something like the Vitaminwater Facebook “Falvorcreator” is nothing more than corporate spam wrapped in a shiny “new media” wrapper. Is following Carnival Cruise Lines on Twitter anything more than giving permission to a company to spam your phone with text? A media savvy generation my foot.
Still, nothing could prepare me for the news that I stumbled across this morning on the excellent PRPD site that MTV has hired a Chief Tweet Reporter to cover the MTV Music Awards. According to PRPD, MTV hired Justine Ezarik, “a self-made internet celeb” (whatever that is) to report on the tweets of the stars attending the award ceremony. How in any parallel universe is this “reporting” in any extended definition of the profession? The stars tweet on how uncomfortable their underwear is and Justine tweets about it. Sigh.
Newspapers and actual journalists are being shut down and loosing their jobs on an almost hourly basis. Losses of professionals in all estates of the media have become the norm. Even Google is caving into the idea of a micropayment service for media outlets on the web because even the net behemoth Google realizes that this brave new world of “new media,” left completely unchecked, could lead to the end of actual fact-checked reporting. Leaving the news hungry world with endless browser pages of half-baked op-ed pieces (much like this one).
I’ve often said that if you want to be in radio, you can either be an evangelist or a broadcaster. There is nothing wrong with either choice, you just have to make one. If you want to be an evangelist in radio (or media) go get a job at NPR, Air America or whatever cause you happen to have a calling for. I’ve always considered myself a broadcaster. I never had a “cause,” I just wanted to make good radio. Radio that would entertain, be fun, make dough. My idea of fun was abusing the radio for a few hours a day. But evangelists and apologists of new media take note, is this the “cause” you are fighting for? Spam in a shiny Web 2.0 wrapper? The media generation isn’t savvy at all, just numb.
*John Ford is a Broadcast programming professional with nearly three decades of experience in local and network major market radio Programming and Consulting. Including stints as a VP of New Media Sabo Media, Network Programming and Imaging at ABC Radio Networks, Greenstone Media. Programming, Imaging and Morning/Talk positions at WIOD/Miami, WLLZ/Detroit, KZPS/Dallas, The Edge/Dallas, Zeta 4/Miami, WSHE/Miami and others. John’s also an uber-geek who holds numerous Apple Technical Certifications and enjoys breaking and fixing code and kit. Reach him at his website johnford.net.