Big Media struggles to stay relevant with rise of Social Media, should analyze coexistence within Tech Industry

(Left: A scribe at the conference was capturing the big “Aha” ideas and sharing on the screen, photo by David Parmet)

It was fascinating for me to observe as an outsider looking in to the world of journalism and traditional media at the WeMedia conference in Miami this week. My notes from day one are the same as my summary, now that I’m back at home. Social Media is impacting them in ways that some are having a hard time grasping while some have already figured out advanced adoption models.

I noticed frustration and during some of the heated conversations. There was certainly conflict there was in how the industry was trying to figure out how they fit into this new model. Questions of we vs me, lack of fact checking in social media and bloggers, time to market, first person reporting, local vs hyper local, and of course, how the hell does one make money?

I heard some executives from large media companies stand up and really speak in the ‘command and control’ voice, they used terms like audiences and messages, rather than communities and conversations.

One lady made frequent complaints that her voices was not heard from her hyper local neighborhood. She blamed media for only covering her community when something bad happens. I was confused, why doesn’t she start a blog and be her own news creator?

Towards the end of the conference I finally grabbed the mic and introduced myself. I made it clear I was a blogger and I help corporations figure out how to stay relevent. I told the conference how they’re not alone, (in fact I think the media industry is ahead of the general marketing industry) and that they should look towards the Tech Industry as a model for success.

The Tech Industry is unique, we’re early adopters, and most of the time (but not all) we collaborate online sharing and arguing ideas. I told them to check out the beautiful playpen of TechMeme, where traditional media and selected bloggers already coexist in harmony (and sometimes in dissonance, and that’s ok too, as we do it together).

As I said that, several folks at the conference went to the site, only to see a meme on the WeMedia conference already taking place.

In the end, it’s pretty simple, the big media folks that figure out how to co-exist, to me an AND, more than an OR will be a thriving part of the community which they serve.

Lastly, I suggested to several folks that the next conference have an ‘unconference’ style, this WeMedia conference was not how I thought it was marketed (PDF) as an ‘audience’ driven conference. Several complained about the $1000 price tag, which is more of the element of a top down event.