Saturday, November 18, 2006

The way we are

I am not in the habit of 'lifting' big blocks of content from other blogs or newspapers. I would rather the source speak for itself. But I am going to steal a big chunk of John Naughton's contribution to the Society of Editors conference reproduced online at the Observer.

Today's 21-year-olds were born in 1985. The internet was two years old in January that year, and Nintendo launched 'Super Mario Brothers', the first blockbuster game. When they were going to primary school in 1990, Tim Berners-Lee was busy inventing the world wide web. The first SMS message was sent in 1992, when these kids were seven. Amazon and eBay launched in 1995. Hotmail was launched in 1996, when they were heading towards secondary school.

Around that time, pay-as-you-go mobile phone tariffs arrived, enabling teenagers to have phones, and the first instant messaging services appeared. Google launched in 1998, just as they were becoming teenagers. Napster and launched in 1999 when they were doing GCSEs. Wikipedia and the iPod appeared in 2001. Early social networking services appeared in 2002 when they were doing A-levels. Skype launched in 2003, as they were heading for university, and YouTube launched in 2005, as they were heading toward graduation...

...Now look round the average British newsroom. How many hacks have a Flickr account or a MySpace profile? How many sub-editors have ever uploaded a video to YouTube? How many editors have used BitTorrent? (How many know what BitTorrent is?).

I think he is a trifle harsh. OK, so the new Telegraph facility is a trifle poky for the journalists and the BBC is buying video clips from local newspapers. The key is that the publishers are now beginning to see that content is only king when the king serves his people.. Hidden behind some walled garden the best that can be expected is a peasants revolt.

Now look at the PR courses offered by the CIPR, Universities and training organisations. There is scant recognition of the real channels for communication and an obsession with gaining admission to the walled garden.