Monday, October 26, 2009

Robert's whacked out 21st century media dream

True story: Last night, I had a dream that our writing community here at F+W Media was overtaken by a bunch of early 20-something slackers who had huge followings on social networks without any ambition to actually create products or useful services. They were also wearing Halloween masks, and I felt like I was watching myself on camera (was probably on some kind of reality television show called Hostile Takeover or something). Such can be life in a 21st Century dream when you work for a media company, I suppose.

Anyway, when I have an absurd dream like that, my mind usually ends up working the dream this way and that--searching for some kind of meaning or purpose for having the dream in the first place. I can only imagine that I had the dream for several reasons.

First, I think my head has been bombarded with social networking lately and trying to find a professional balance between interacting with my audience and creating valuable products and services. I've been reading articles that say things like, "Content is king," or, "Advertising is king," or even (yes, I really have read this article), "Context is king" (not content or advertising).

Second, I think there's the issue of uncertainty about the role of an editor (or content manager or specialist or whatever my title should be) in the 21st century. When I started interning at F&W Publishing (notice two key changes in the company's name) in 2000, editors just edited and assigned articles. Then, launched. Then, we started doing an e-mail newsletter. And eventually, blogging, social networking, etc. Editors still need to have those editing skillz to pay the billz, but so much more is required now than ever before.

Third, there are the Halloween masks. Obviously, Halloween is around the corner, but I think this had to do with the image not matching the identity. In this case, there were people who were great at getting people in the door, but those people would not find anything of value or substance once they stepped through. You need great marketing and promotion if you ever want to find new customers, but you also need a great product and/or service if you want to retain those new customers you do find.

So, here are the lessons from Robert's whacked out 21st century media dream:
  1. Nothing is king. Great content without effective marketing doesn't reach an optimum audience. Effective marketing without great content wastes and infuriates potential customers. And both need context to work effectively together.
  2. The definition of Editor has changed and will most likely continue to change. As a result, the definitions of writers, agents, and anyone else involved in producing content and/or services will continue to change. I hope everyone's holding on tight, because some are sure to be thrown off this coaster before all is said and done.
  3. Your identity has to match your image. This is an old rule, but it's one that everyone needs to remember with so many rules changing. Your identity has to match your image. If it's not, potential readers/customers don't know what to expect and/or they get upset when their expectations don't match reality. That's just how it works in real life and in the business world.


Speaking of 21st century media, etc., here's what I've been up to virtually recently:

And, of course, I've been doing random stuff at my Twitter and Facebook accounts. (Search on the #poettues hashtag on Twitter tomorrow if you want to discuss poetry bumper sticker ideas, for instance.)


I'm in Ohio for the week. My brother David is getting married on Sunday (day after Halloween) to his long-time special lady friend, Laura. I believe I may have mentioned before that I need to write some kind of Best Man speech. Yeah, that's still on my To-Do List. Know what I need to Google this week.

Tammy and Baby Will will be flying in from the ATL; my brother Simon, the stormchaser, will be in from OKC; and Ben & Jonah will be in attendance as well. Good times!


Speaking of Ben & Jonah, I had a great weekend with them. We went to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, drew pictures together, played games, read books, cleaned up, watched TV, and other father-son thing-a-ma-gigs. One of the great things about my Ohio trips is that I totally unplug on the weekends, which is actually going to make the start of the November PAD Chapbook Challenge interesting this weekend.


Besides that, I'm just wondering what everyone else is up to?


Go Street Maps said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Go Street Maps said...

Good Luck with your Best Man speech, you will find an excellent resource at Best Man Help's blog he provides great tips and super sample speeches.

Jessie Carty said...

I'm still trying to figure out the proper balance of web presence that is worthwhile versus willy nilly :)

Sending poems out right now!

... Paige said...

RL has taken over. Still getting over hand surgery with another one coming up in Nov (girl stuff) flooded house, climbing big granite know the usual.

I will try to keep up with NovPAD, but this year it will have to be a me first kinda thang.

Happy wedding and family times

Sherry Gray (aka sherisaid) said...

This scenario rings true to me for different reasons. I write a lot of content articles and finding credible information online is becoming more and more difficult due to successful SEO/SEM by affiliate marketers. I try to add value to every subject I tackle because articles carry my name and the last thing I want out there is derivative crapola, but I often wind up plowing through a lot of SERP to find credibility (or even well-written sources).

I'd love to see search methods change, just to bring the focus back to content...and get real information, not thinly disguised, badly written advertisements, back on the front page.

Robert Lee Brewer said...

Thanks, Go Street Maps!

Yay, Jessie, on sending out the poems!

That sucks, Paige. Me first is how it should be. And by me, I mean you, of course.

Sherry, that's so spot on. When people can't find value, everyone loses.