Last week, I presented at Search Engine Strategies Toronto on the intersection of PR, marketing and social media. After my session, a woman from the audience came up to introduce herself: she was a writer for Social Media Examiner (and extremely pleasant to speak with). We talked a bit about the industry and about blogging in general. To which she remarked I had actually upset some people over at Social Media Examiner from my response to their post on social media addiction.
Things like print newspapers and compact discs were made obsolete years ago. They are living artifacts. Digital is the master copy – we’re only waiting for the divide to bridge. It isn’t really an argument, you either can foresee the future where all information, content and forms of media are semantic, social, malleable, searchable entities or you can’t. It may take time but there is no stopping this path, it’s one of the clearer long-term trends.
Yesterday I embraced my own philosophy of never being afraid to have opinions or taking sides. I stated my opinion about the popular blog, Mashable.
And Pete Cashmore, Mashable’s CEO is smart – he actually took the time to leave a comment and continue the discussion. For that, he’s earning another post about his brand (think what you will about the first one, it’s still positive to gain more awareness). Before I get into his comment – which was a great response – I want to run through something else.
Maybe you heard: AOL is rumored to be purchasing Mashable. It’s circulating amongst serveral sources. Whether or not it’s credible isn’t the point – it’s about time we took a look into Mashable and put out in the open what most quietly think about the site. And the rumor of their purchase make it perfect to discuss now.
Whether you actually like Mashable’s content is moot: no denying they are successful in terms of numbers, beating out rival top technology blog TechCrunch in raw traffic in May, 2009 – although having far less RSS subscribers (TechCrunch has more than 4 million to Mashable’s paltry 345K+).
The platform where modern commerce, communication and business is done is online. It’s where we share art. It’s where we collaborate on ideas. It’s the master copy of all media. It’s not some parallel reality from where you physically function: all critical infrastructure and management of business has steadily moved online. The next generation (and every generation thereafter) will spend a majority of their time using web-powered media compared to other media. If other forms of media even continue to exist.
In 2008, I wrote the fact that paid blogging is a lose-lose situation. I stick with everything written in that post. Upon noticing a slew of new services – including those which allow companies to pay for Tweets (it’s laughable in-and-of itself that anyone is gullible enough to pay for that) I’ve been reflecting further on the idea of sponsored conversations.
If you read no further in this post, just consider this point: you can’t commoditize something as organic as a conversation. The second you do, the people having those conversations cease to be people and transform into shills. You might trick some users but it’s not authentic and there is zero trust involved. It’s manipulation, not conversation.