Back to work this morning, so let's get caught up on these del.icio.us tags from the past four days.
From Friday —
David Armano at Logic + Emotion responds to Steve Rubel's recent assertion that the differentiation between social media and mainstream media is gone -- or on its way out. I'm glad Armano did because apparently I was too busy eating holiday fruitcake to do so myself -- until now. As far as I'm concerned, not only is the differentiation still very clear, it should be sustained.
One of Armano's points specifically resonates with me. He argues that, while MSM may be using some of the same tools (i.e., Brian Williams blogs), that doesn't make it social media. Social media may facilitated by tools, but it's not about the tools (despite Wikipedia's definition, which Rubel cites).
As far as I am concerned, social media defines a process or an experience or even a positioning that NEEDS to be defined in contrast to mainstream media. It's about turning up the volume on citizens and providing them with the opportunity to be engaged (in the old school -- non-marketing/PR -- use of the term) in the democratic process.
In other words, Brian Williams could start podcasting from his bedroom, but it would be because someone in the marketing division at NBC thought it would appeal to the elusive 18-24 year old demographic, not because he felt the urge to be heard -- and to participate.
The magic of social media is that it is amplifying voices that may not otherwise be heard. It does not put us all on equal footing, but it does lead those in the mainstream -- corporations, politicians, the media -- to be held more accountable.
It is not that the differentiation between social media and mainstream media no longer exists. Instead, an alternative view would be that -- as the voices of those on the "A-list" start getting louder/heard by more people -- they have simply crossed over the line to mainstream.
We'll miss them, but there will always be more voices that need to be heard.
A side note that occurred to me while writing this, I long for the day when the MSM can be bothered to actually cite blogs specifically -- "as was said by so and so on Daily Kos on Tuesday" -- versus the idiotic, "according to the liberal blogosphere" or "on the blogs, they're saying".
A few others --
- Speaking of mainstream versus social media, Rich Miller (at the Chicago Sun-Times) is getting tired of the political mainstream media's coverage of online political media, whether it's their sweeping generalizations, out and out sloppy reporting of the facts or their dismissal of the relevance of social media to the political process. (Comes via the folks at Echo Ditto, who know damn well about the relevance of social media to the political process, thank you very much.)
- The number of Internet users in China has grown by 30 percent in the past year.
- Taylor Marsh at The Huffington Post thinks we've all gotten just a bit too cynical, as judged by some of the knee-jerk responses to John Edwards' decision to announce his candidacy from the 9th Ward in New Orleans.
- Lee Odden at Online Marketing Blog has some smart ideas for using blogs for online media rooms to increase search engine visibility and for "the added bonus of visibility via blog or RSS channels".
- The Huffington Post has taken over NewsRanker from Eat the Press and added functionality.
- Steve Garfield has some tips for John Edwards' next meeting with bloggers. John, let him let you touch his video camera. You'll like it, I assure you.
- I used Wikiquote when I wrote a post about my favorite film, Badlands, over at my other blog. By the way, starting a second blog was a bad idea . . . I'm looking for my voice over there if you have any thoughts.
- Joe Trippi explains the distinction between transformational and transactional candidates. It's the difference between saying, "Look at what I can do," and "Look at what you can do -- or WE can do together". Is John Edwards 2008's "transformational" candidate?
- Also over at MyDD, Mike Connery has some advice for Democrats who might be getting a little smug about polls that show that young voters are voting for their candidates. My favorite idea is one that marries the high level of community participation among young people with party identification. According to Connery, Democrats Work organizes young people to do service work AS DEMOCRATS. In addition to, as Connery says, building a reputation for the party, what I like is that the initiative communicates to young people that their ideals about life in their community are the foundation upon which the party was built.
- There's a great deal of hype (judging by the number of other people who have tagged the site) about The Hype Machine. Thanks to the folks at PSFK for the heads up. Find new music by tracking what music is being talked about among bloggers.
- Also from PSFK, Oxfam recently criticized Starbucks for their treatment of Ethiopian coffee farmers, producing a video of a day of protests (December 16) and posting it on YouTube. Starbucks did something oh so obvious, yet brilliant nevertheless. They made their own damn video (nothing fancy, just are response to the criticism) and posted IT on YouTube so that their story could be heard as well. Crisis management 101 -- fill the void and make sure your side of the story is heard. But, in this case, Starbucks also made sure that their story was heard where it needed to be heard — by the people who are watching the Oxfam video.