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June 13, 2009

Bloggers vs The Traditional media

Every now and then the traditional media lurches forth out of its death bed to slam bloggers. The titles drift from rumormonger, to peddlers of scuttlebutt, to derisive comments about amateurs and 40 year old men in their pajamas. 

This all misses the point, but highlights the reasons why traditional media is so much in decline. 

The role of traditional media, as protected by them for decades, is to inform. In days gone by this was a scarce function, and one that people would pay money for. (For papers they bought int he street no less)

Today, Google owns the web. Every breaking story almost immediately has 10 - 12 different versions in Google news, and we have a choice which we will read. 

It is no longer scarce, it is a commodity. And commodities can only compete on price, there is nothing else left. 

Bloggers, on the other hand, are not their to inform - mainly they exist to involve and often to teach. When Seth Godin, who writes the worlds leading marketing blog, posts about something it is rarely (if ever) breaking news. But it is a unique insight. 

When ProBlogger Darren Rowse posts on his blog his legion of readers tune in because he generally has something of value to impart to them.

They comment, link, forward it to others, and use the information to shape their own lives and careers. Why do they do this? Because it is often scarce and valuable information. Not only that, but they can get their voice into the ongoing narration of this story also. (And as a not underestimate a persons drive for notoriety.)

But with the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, or whatever...they just get more information. Information they can get from a myriad of sources. 

Does traditional journalism still have a role? Of course it does, they keep us all honest I hope. 

Is it a commercially viable role? Not yet...not until it becomes scarce and of value again. Until then, they are going to be struggling to even give it away.

There is a message here for those of us who consult. Informing is done by many, and while it is vital - it can be relatively easily found. 

Teaching, on the other hand, is scarce, particularly with coaches who have played before. Involvement and interaction is scarce - particularly the kind that places you at the center of a new knowledge ecosystem as the facilitator between many parties.

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