Our Responsibility as Media Channels

Jacqueline Carly

Going into 2012, I’m thinking that we are very responsible to consider what we publish and curate as media channels, should attention, platform-building, and better community relationships be our goal. In thinking about all your various uses of social networks, if you are working with the mindset that they are all tied together as a larger media property for yourself, it becomes important to think about what you’re putting through those channels. Attention is a currency, and if we spend too much of other people’s attention on frivolous posts and shares, we risk losing that attention.

This is a Fork in the Road Situation

As with all matters, you can choose not to view your efforts in blogging and social media as anything more than self expression and personal communication. That’s perfectly fine. If that’s your goal, then this post isn’t for you. If you want to think about what your media making can do for your professional pursuits, then read a bit further.

Our Responsibility as Media Channels

You are creating information every time you post something on your blog, on YouTube, on Facebook, on Twitter, on FourSquare, and everywhere else. You might not think of it that way, but you are. You’re also sending a singal: “Here’s something new. Here I am poking at your attention.” You are also creating or missing the creation of an opportunity, such as whether to take a further action, or whether to elicit a response, etc. You are also contributing to, or detracting from the interests of a community, even if that community is fluid or overlapping. You are also blessed with the opportunity to entertain, educate, and maybe even compel someone. What if you look at this as your responsibility? What if you looked at all we just outlined with an eye towards making something bigger than just noise?

  • I have created information. What was my purpose in sharing it?
  • I have sent a signal. What do I want that signal to be?
  • I have or haven’t created an opportunity. What is it, or why not?
  • I am contributing to or detracting from my community. Which is it?
  • I am entertaining, educating, or compelling with my information. Which is it?

Look at your last three Facebook posts, your last five tweets, your last few entries into Google+ and Foursquare. How would you answer the above questions?

You Are a Magazine and a TV Station

I’ve already written about this in the past. We are a world of fledgling TV stations. That means we need to think about our programming. We have to think about our audience. We have to think about what we’re hoping to achieve. Up until now, MANY of us look at our creations on the social web as temporary things that fly by and not a body of work. We think of them as quick messages and blips and not some collection of materials. Like I said, there’s a fork in the road. You can keep doing that for sure. But I think the extended business benefits of using the social web go away rather soon for those people who use their channels too loosely.

I’ll say that again: the quality and value of your efforts on the social web will dry up this year (2012), as more and more saturation take us to the point where we can’t even bother to read tweets any longer.

Preparing for the New Media World

First, typing “new media” makes me laugh, because we’ve been talking about new media since the late 90s, and I’ve been writing about it since maybe 2005 or so. By “new,” in this case, I just mean our new approach to using it in a more concerted way. The ‘gee whiz’ has worn off, and now, if you’re looking to build professional value from this whole jumble of the social web, it’s important to start thinking like a TV station and a magazine and start building out content that takes advantage of that.

What’s first? Your mission as it applies to your community. And let’s use the term “community” loosely, because maybe you haven’t yet formed a community large enough to reach your goals. But let’s grow into that. Your mission, of course, is to serve that community. Whatever way you answer that question, phrase it that way. Your mission isn’t to grow rich by making amazing webinars that sell your crap. Your mission is to create useful information that enhances the lives and efforts of the community you are fortunate to serve. No matter WHAT your role and no matter WHAT industry you’re in, that’s the mission.

If you’re Christopher Lynn and the team at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston, your mission is to educate your guests and prospective guests on the benefits of staying there, and on the city you serve: Boston. If you’re Chris Zoller at Polar USA, your mission is to educate your fledgling and professional athletes on the world of fitness and health that your products so excellently serve. If you’re Mike Elgan from Elgan Media, your mission is to entertain your readership and make us think (Mike’s already a media company).

Your Responsibility as Consumers of Media

Oh, and we have a new responsibility as consumers of media, too. We can’t just read things, hit the +1, and move on. We can’t just absorb posts, nod a little, then move to the next bite. We can’t buy the latest and greatest business books and get through a handful of chapters, and rush to the next thing. This year, your role and responsibility around the consumption of media is twofold:

  1. Don’t just consume, absorb. Take it allllll in.
  2. Share. And don’t just push the stumble, the retweet, etc, but give some value to the share by giving your points, adding your two cents, blogging a piece around it, etc. If you had time to read it, take the time to share it well.

It’s A Choice

You have choices in all of this. You can choose to sink beneath the waves and just enjoy the chitty-chatty web. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. But if your goal is to use these tools to improve your business, today is Day 1. Take up your responsibility. Work on it today. Don’t post all over the place today. Instead, observe a day of silence while you rethink matters.

Oh, and you can still have fun and be funny. Just make sure that’s also part of your channel’s intents. It sure is for mine.

What say you? Are you in?

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  • http://CardsMakeCash.com Jackie Ulmer

    I love the “You are a Magazine and a TV Station” and how are you serving or detracting from YOUR community. Thanks Chris!

    EXPECT Success!

    Jackie Ulmer

  • http://twitter.com/jccarcamo Julia Carcamo

    Wow! You are not kidding about being at a fork in the road. Now the question is, “Which direction(s) will I go in?”

  • Yomar Lopez

    I like what this article has to say about deliberate direction. It’s all too easy to become machines but mass marketing is dying so being human with our social efforts is key. All of what you share here is true, Chris.. but it books down to the value we create, how unique our voices are, and how authentic (and consistent) we are in all we do. Well, at least that is how this all speaks to me.

    Really, the over-saturation in social media has created excessive busy work for we online marketers.. BUT we have the power to focus on what really matters.. or add to the mostly undecipherable, regurtitated noise.

  • http://dempseymarketing.com/journal/media/ Robert Dempsey

    Great points Chris. The numbers show that millions of blogs are coming online and the growth of the social networks, while some are slowing, does continue forward.

    I forsee people becoming a lot more choosey if they haven’t already. Personally I narrowed down the list of people I follow on Twitter from 11k+ to less than 200, I follow a small number of blogs, and I’m very strict with what I now subscribe to.

    On a similar note I am reading more books. Yay Kindle!

    As for all these channels we have I’m picking and choosing there too. The people I serve – entrepreneurs and small businesses – haven’t the time to be in all places all the time, and neither do I. I chose what works best for me – my homebase (the blog), Twitter and Google+.

    One of the three parts of my master plan this year is focusing on building the community around my business. I’ve gotten to the point where I have a great level of interaction with my customers and visitors to my site. Now it’s time to serve them even more and draw in more peeps.

    Here’s to a fantastic 2012!

  • http://bbetter.me/ @PhilEchols

    “What was my purpose in sharing it?”  That’s deep.  2 Words:  Excellent post.  Very thought provoking.  I feel that more people need to take their channels more seriously.  Actions speak louder than words it speaks volumes when Keyboard Cat has more “likes”/hits than Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement of 2005.  Whether people agree or not, it shows were our priorities are.  Thanks for posting this.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Thanks, Phil. I just want you to figure it out for us all. : ) 

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Chris,

    You know I’m in.

    Impact. If I don’t make one I don’t show up. If I show up, I make one. Mindfulness. Really that’s it. Slow down. Create value with all you do.

    I’ve been a mindful commenator. Now I’m more mindful with my sharing details; the Stumble descriptions, Facebook descriptions, etc. Giving some context to what I share so my community understands why I am sharing, and how the content is of benefit.

    Really dig the TV channel concept. What is our community doing? Choosing to tune into us. How’s the programming? Light? Reality crap TV? Or something valuable, something usable, something our community can consume and put into use within 5 minutes….and as you note, the community has to eat, digest, and use too….2 way street.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Chris.


  • http://CreativeJourneyman.com Nando

    Thanks for the guidance. You’ve started this year on fire, Sensei!

  • http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/bob-weisenberg/ Bob Weisenberg

    I’m in, Chris!

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  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    I think the word Absorb sums it all up… 

    So many people browse and don’t really consume that I agree we need to absorb. 

    On the other side I will use your guideline to think of what I post a bit better.  

  • http://elainefogel.net Elaine Fogel

    “…more and more saturation take us to the point where we
    can’t even bother to read tweets any longer.”

    This will have a profound effect on marketers’ use of SM channels, Chris. When you think about it now, once we tweet, there is a fleeting moment in time that our target market segments get to see it. That’s why quantity has been such a focus for those wanting to get attention.

    Your advice changes the game plan… as always. :)

  • http://twitter.com/blogworld BlogWorld Expo

    So Chris are you assuming..Maybe thats not the right word; are you choosing to serve your community as community of content creators?

    I think you are right, but it also needs to be said that not everyone who uses these tools; social networks in particular are really content creators. Many of them are consumers, many more are just listening and engaging when relevant to them.

    If you are blogging, podcasting or creating video you should definitely be thinking about yourself as a content creator, a publisher, or as you just said here Chris as a TV channel. Fail to do that and you are doomed to fail.

    Great post as usual.

  • Jmunchbach

    Yes. I’m in. As I prepare to launch Money Bible for iPad, iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry, its becoming clear… I have a responsibility.

    Thank you
    Jim Munchbach
    Happy New Year 2012!!

  • http://www.abiolatv.com Abiola Abrams

    Thanks so much for helping us all to refocus for the new year, Chris. I’m in!

  • http://salesclicks.com Dick Foster

    Great perspective about responsibility and focus on quality, not quantity. I’m in.

  • http://humansarestoopid.com/ Hooker

    Well, as someone who has had something important to say for many years, I began my second blog to simpy entertain. It was more for me than anyone else, although I am gaining fans. I don’t think there has to be meaning in everything we do. There are millions who don’t want to improve themselves at all, and simply wish to laugh a little bit and forget their problems.

    I appreciate your viewpoint, but don’t think everything has to be taken so seriously. This is the internet, after all, and not many take it seriously.

    I enjoy your articles as always.

  • http://kevinelliottchi.tumblr.com/ Kevin Elliott

    I’ve thought about this a lot in the recent past. Both pertaining to my personal media streams and my professional media streams. In the personal sphere, I’ve accepted Facebook not as my social lord and savior, but a dumping ground. Despite where content of mine originates, if that content is cross-posted or shared, it goes to Facebook.  As the largest social network, it is also the least focused and I’m okay using it as a net to see what comes back to the boat.

    G+ is becoming my preferred method of sharing as I can target the shares the easiest. Twitter is my go-to conversation space. Path is where I share the things that only my close friends would care about. Tumblr is mostly for original content… a landing pad for those really interested in what I have to say.  This may all seem very fractured, but in my mind, that’s mindful of intent, no?

  • http://twitter.com/BeStayStrong Michael Hawkins

    I’m in.

    Thanks for being such a straight-shooter.  I think it’s high time we all cut through the ‘noise’ and start focusing on our audience.

  • http://twitter.com/EDahlPR Emily Dahl

    Chris, thank you for your post. Over the past year, media channels such as Twitter and Facebook have brought me many interesting pieces of information that I might not have otherwise seen, thanks to intelligent friends, colleagues, and reporters who posted and gave context for the linked stories.

    I’ve been dismayed, however, by the overabundance of meaningless content, or content for its own sake. My feelings go beyond the annoyance of having to sort through uninteresting or spam-like posts (Twitter in particular); I think we should all also remember that the content we create has implications for energy and the environment. Somewhere out there, data centers are storing our created content, using somewhere around 100 billion kilowatt-hours per year in the US (US DOE: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/program/dc_energy_consumption.html).

    Meanwhile, there’s a constant pressure to create new content, because of the fast obsolescence of Twitter and Facebook posts. This is also often due to the deluge of posts by individuals and organizations who are always trying to be “top-of-feed” without providing any value, often simply reposting the same information. (Of course, there are many frequent posters who *do* strive to share useful information with every post–this includes you, Chris, and many of the thoughtful commentators on this blog.)

    So I’d propose an addition to your list of responsibilities: in 2012, we should consider before we post, “Is what I’m saying worth using the energy and data storage space to share?” I’m having that debate with myself even now; I hope this is a worthwhile comment, and I’m personally committed to only commenting when I have a different perspective to add to the dialogue in 2012.

    We have the opportunity to be environmentally responsible curators with our choices.

  • http://www.execumama.com/ Execumama

    You’re so right on this one.  It resonates with me because it gives me an easily-identifiable barometer for gauging the weight/value of my content.  Sometimes, it’s best just to be quiet and wait for something worth saying.  Thanks for this.

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  • http://www.lifeonplanetbaby.com/ Jane

    Wow, Chris! Loving this post – it’s such a thoughtful and insightful analysis of the crazy SM world swirling around us. 

    I’ve been mulling over similar thoughts lately as I’ve tried to cut out the chatter and white noise, not get caught up in what others are saying and say what I want to. I’ve culled the blogs I subscribe to by 70% and only use FB and Twitter for short periods a day. It’s starting to make a noticeable difference. 

    Now I want to post about ‘retaking control of my digital life’ – do you think that would be a good topic?

  • http://obviouslybrilliant.com/ Victoria Kamm

    Best post ever Chris! Absolutely spot on. 

  • Susan

    Yes, for our holiday homes we’re thinking through the ‘Channel’ approach and aiming to create channels which enchant our potential guests and make us their first choice of a place to stay in Edinburgh.

  • Kradr2

    Wild idea for you Chris, here it is : Have you noticed these days that people on the roads just do not bother to signal ?   Also, how many times do people walk right at you and you have to dodge them?

    What gives ?

    Isn’t this like what we do on the internet?

    People get on and it’s like they are writing in their diaries and when you acknowledge them its like your a ghost  reaching up from their words to startle them.

    Have a great day.

  • http://www.figmentations.com figmentations

    To get to quality over quantity can only happen if we slow down our rate of consumption and our rate of creation. This would definitely change the landscape, and in a good way. Yet I don’t expect to see this happen on a large scale (especially when we seem to have been trained to “spend so freely”). Though that’s not to say this can’t happen within our own smaller community groups. Great post. Really got me thinking about the implications.

  • http://twitter.com/tishpiper Pat Zalewski

    Being mindful of our digital footprint will create changes that you describe. Less is the new more.

  • Tami Heim

    Brilliant. I’m all in!

  • http://about.me/rachal.loves.life Rachal Tarquin

     I like how your broke down “our responsibility as media channels” the way you did. I agree how we are all displaying media to the people we are connected to and need to think before engaging, interacting, and informing. Great post Chris!

  • http://jestKultura.pl/ Andrzej

    Great food for thought. I’m starting my “conscious” sharing with this post :)

  • http://www.BlessingsMultiplied.com/ Bridgette

    Great insight!  “Your mission is to create useful information
    that enhances the lives and efforts of the community you are fortunate to
    serve.”  Well said!  It is good to be reminded of our “purpose” and that it is a privilege to serve the community.  Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.citycv.co.uk/ Richard

    Great piece Chris…  As with everything in life we should be mindful of what we create.

  • Jared Sasser

    Great post and a great reminder to be meaningful and provide great value, be it as a person or business.

  • Keith West

     Crap. I have a post coming up on Wed. that would go very well with this. I would accelerate it, but I’ve already posted today and I’m committed to no more than one a day. Why? The stream is overflowing its banks with content. More is not better. I’m thinking of unsubscribing from some feeds I like very much because of the amount of content they’re pumping out. (Amex Open, Inc., Hubspot)

    Perhaps we all should curate more of our own stuff.

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  • http://www.actoftraveling.com Emiel van den Boomen

    I’m in. Let’s treat ourselves and our community as a Temple….

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce-magento Henry Louis

    It is great post that describes about responsibilities to the media channels. I like it very much.

  • http://www.millenniumpeacesummit.com/news000905.html Swami Prakashanand Saraswati

    Media Channels have became so important in today’s world and they need to play a vital and a spontaneous role in every activity.

  • http://paramountessays.com/ buy essay

    Good work!

  • Annie Banannie

    Thanks Chris for this article!  My mantra for the year is FOCUS

  • http://twitter.com/GregoryBloom Gregory Bloom

    Thanks for the information

  • http://www.san-diego-marketing.com/ San Diego Marketing

    These are greats thoughts to ponder, there is truth to the fact that more and more people are spending their time online than on traditional TV set ups. I think it would be quite a great move for all of us, to anyone who publishes, to really have a good few moments and evaluate the contents we created before posting them live. If it’s practiced by the majority, then the quality of the shared information will only be much much better.

  • http://www.socialcubix.com/services/mobile/iphone-application-development iphone app developer

    your article is very great
    i liked to spend my timing on your blog and want to read more about.

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Chris – One of my predictions for 2012 is that we will indeed have to rise above the noise – which means not contributing to it.  Google Buzz was nothing but noise.  Twitter is kinda in the middle for me. 

    Much of this depends upon the nature of the community. So, I have to take exception with your new media comment.  It’s still very new to the mainstream small business folks I serve.

    That said, you are spot on that if we understand and respect our community and publish/broadcast to their needs – we’re going to rise above the informercial type channels.

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  • http://www.stone-bridge.co.uk/ Melissa

    This is the most awesome “new year new you” article I’ve read. 

    Trying to get better, sharper focus in our overarching marketing plan was already number 1 on my list to tackle this year. And in our staff review meeting, everyone agreed we had lost focus on the customer. This was down to an overzealous concentration on learning about SEO. Unfortunately this made our marketing BORING. It was boring to write and I’ve no doubt it was boring to read.

    My brain was scrambled.

    But – yea! – this article immediately helped me generate a simply structure that I can start applying today, that meets our SEO goals and is actually useful, interesting and easier for our customers than what we had been doing.

    Thank you thank you thank you …

  • Rey Ybarra

    This is an honest, truthful and powerful article Chris!  I always believed contributing to the conversation and adding something of value using your talents is where it is at!  If you are a writer, speaker or whatever, make sure you are using your talents for the good of your community and others. 

    Rey Ybarra

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  • http://nothingbutsocnet.blogspot.com/ Zena Weist

    Nice pic! The new year looks good on you.

  • http://www.themanandavanswindon.co.uk/ The Man With A Van

    Great post! We’ll be adding a newsletter opt-in soon