There have been many disruptions and transitions over the last 15-20 years with regard to media. The Internet, digital media, and social media have had a huge impact, and the very definition of media has changed many times and in significant ways.
There’s no need for me to go into a history lesson about all of this except to say that at one time media consisted of the following: radio, television, and print. That was it. Then the new distinction of “old media” and “new media” came along as bloggers, podcasters and online journalists broadened out the definition of media.
For a while, there was a mantra claiming how “old media ” is dying (wrong) and how new media is going to be the exclusive answer moving forward (also wrong), and what actually happened is many merged and are distributing their content in multiple ways. Digital is big. Absolutely. And when there is a crisis, many still turn to the big media brands for the story, e.g., NBC, CNN, Fox, whatever your personal preference is.
Somewhere in the mix, social media began to grow and make its mark and with it any individual could speak to the masses. That really was a huge turning point in time. Now that anyone can create a platform, set up social media accounts, and speak to large groups, each person has become part of “the media.”
New Definition: We are all “the media” now.
Of course, as I am fond of saying, “Anyone can stand up these days. The trick is how are you going to stand out?” but that’s another series of posts for another time. The point is, anyone can start his or her own media company, which is just a fancy way of saying they could publish their own opinions to the masses.
All this to say that there are those who want to blame “the media” for all kinds of problems in the world. That’s fine, and maybe it’s true. I’m not here to defend any particular media outlet. However, I think a key point to remember is that when people blame the media, they are blaming themselves too because we are all media now. When I hear the comment, “It’s the media’s fault,” or some variation of that, I want to respond with, “Who specifically? We are all media now, so does that mean every single person who comments or publishes, or are there specific people and outlets you’re grouping into this comment about ‘the media’.”
Anyone who has any kind of platform and comments on social media, writes a blog, does a podcast, whatever form it takes, is the media. That is where we are now because every one of us can speak to groups of others directly. Some brands have bigger platforms and distribution methods, yes, of course. Some have a broader reach, yes. But I think we all really have to accept the fact that we are each responsible for what we’re saying, and we are all part of this big thing called “the media.”
On another note: Regarding sheltering at home:
In my work, I help authors get attention and visibility on the larger platforms in order to establish credibility, and attract a larger audience to their own work. Because of that, I like to help them put their best foot forward by being able to speak their message in a clear and compelling way through all forms of media.
In the last couple of weeks, I have centered on cameras and video because so many are sheltered at home these days. In case you missed it, here’s a link to last week’s post with Key Tips on Interviews and Work At Home Hacks.
I would like to add one more important tip when on camera, whether it’s from home, or one day when we get back to doing studio interviews, and it’s this:
Put your focus on the many, not the few. By this I mean when you’re in a television studio with a live audience, the natural tendency is to play to the audience that is present. However, the far bigger audience is beyond that camera lens, so you want to play to that and resist the temptation to play to the relatively few people in the studio.
The same is true for live streaming on Facebook or any other platform you’re presenting on. Remember the long tail. Even if only a small number are on with you live, most likely far more people are going to see your presentation later. I know it’s tempting to call people out by name. I see others do it all the time, and I understand why. It makes those who came to see you in real-time feel good. But it’s jarring and distracting to the many others who are watching and listening to you and your message. Think of when you’re in a deep conversation with someone and in the middle of it, they stop, wave, and shout out to someone else. Yuck. It’s an interruption that does not feel good to the person listening. Resist the temptation. It interrupts your flow and it never comes across well.
We are all the media now so embrace that and use that power wisely. If you’re an author with a book that you want to get more attention for, presenting through your own media channels can set you up for bigger opportunities down the road. Do it well and it can make a huge difference in the kind of coverage you get with the top tier and secondary tiers.
To your success!
P.S. Our hearts go out to all who are dealing with and suffering from this pandemic. I also want to personally thank all the first responders who are working so hard to keep us safe. There aren’t enough words to adequately say thank you, but my friends at PIX News in New York City produced this thank you video, and I’d love to share it with you here. This may feature New York, but it could be any city in the world. We thank responders in ALL cities, towns, villages, and everywhere around the world. Thank you!