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20 July 2008


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Paul McKeon

Trevor, thank God, finally some perspective. I completely agree.

Patrick Johnson

Good reality check in many aspects, but it is important not to overlook the changes that are happening (even if slowly).

I run into twitter/blogging/etc skeptics who say "The only people I know who use these tools are marketers or tech people..." all the time. It is true, those are the major users of most social media tools now days.

But remember that there was a time when e-mail and web pages were used almost exclusively by techies. Now e-mail is commonly used by all generations. Now that isn't to say that twitter or blogging will reach that level but it will increase.

In terms of blogging become more than a hobby for average joe, that may be true. However with the interest and increase in bloggers and people reading blog I would not be surprised to see a shift that makes blogging more lucrative when done well. Adsense and advertising can make you a survivable income once you reach a specific level... but blogger networks really have been revolutionizing small bloggers. Not only in helping extend their reach, but also in terms of monetizing their content.

Blogs that have the audience of a typical small news publication (40,000 readers) make plenty of money to support at least the blogger him/herself.

While I agree there is not a train wreck coming, there is more going on than a few techie fads.

Steve Nimmons

Excellent article, and I must admit I largely agree with it. Bubbles, hype, waves - we've seen it all before. I would like more talked about collaboration as a discipline and science and Social Media as a stimulus, rather than the means to an end. Blogging and Twittering can be very cathartic and I think there are a lot of citizen journalists out there that aren't too bothered about monetisation. They are perhaps (like I) simple information hobbyists...

Trevor Cook

Patrick - I agree with you and it is important not to go too far in downplaying the potential importance of social media just as it is important not to get carried away with the 'revolutionary' or 'train wreck' nature of these technologies

Steve - I think most of us will stay hobbyists, because it allows you to write what you want when you want (well pretty much) without becoming a slave to a fickle market.

Prue Corlette

Trevor Cook - the voice of reason. Shame you weren't there on the day.

Steven Lewis

Nice post, Trevor; particularly the bit about bloggers v journalists. I've been both and the "debate" is indeed dull.

I wrote a post yesterday about podcasting in particular because there's a distinct fading of the community of amateurs in forums like Podcast Pickle, which I put down to podcasting being hard. The main players in podcasting are old media outfits because they have the expertise in content and production. If they're newspapers that don't have the audio skills, they can pay for it and they do. Most amateurs can't compete -- it's not just about buying a microphone and chuntering into it.

Mike Hickinbotham

Hi Trevor,

It will be interesting to watch social media evolve as more Australian corporations use it as a medium to hold two-way conversations with customers and/or key stakeholders.

My assumption is the traditional PR/Marcomm units will evolve to become media units as the corporation’s content will need to be 'social media' worthy in order to attract and retain the target audience.

Comment about Bloggers vs Journalists:
While it doesn't always happen in traditional media, there is an expectation traditional media/journalists report not only on the facts but offer a critical analysis of current or future implications.

If blogs or micro blogging continue to become a bigger portion of the media we consume (ex - Plugger monitors comments from Twitter) critical analysis will become a premium offering that traditional media could use to differentiate itself against the various other sources of media.

Gordon Whitehead

Great post.

Maybe next time, you might get my point if you were there at the conference.

giles palmer

great common-sense post Trevor. It is difficult to argue against hard stats and traffic figures, and of course the big media companies have the budgets to acquire anything that looks like it might be competitive (save the odd one or two that got away like Google!), but on the other hand it's early days - Twitter may not be ground breaking, but it might be. It's very new and although social media in it's current form isnt' threatening too many people, there are some big underlying changes happening right now. For instance, tv audiences and newspaper and trade mag readerships are shrinking and web traffic is growing. And the web brings new technical possibilities and business models, so for me it's too early to be dismissive


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  • Trevorcook
  • I have worked in politics, public policy and strategic communications for over 30 years. I was recently awarded a doctorate in Australian politics at the University of Sydney. My thesis was on the (changing) relationship between the ALP and unions. I have been blogging since November 2003 and over the past decade I have written many articles on politics, public relations and social media for newspapers, magazines and websites. I love literature particularly John McGahern and James Joyce. The header photo is of the Clarence River taken before dawn at Ulmarra in 2012.


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