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Apr 12, 2009

Has the Wall Between Church and State Crumbled for Publishing?

Lots of buzzwords about new media. As I read the meaningless words, the bigger issue of publishing credibility raised its ugly head. Traditionally, editors and circulation work independently from ad sales. Has the wall between church and state crumbled?

There is no intent to accuse anyone of foul play, but here are the observations.
  • Did Mashable and Techcrunch gain Twitter recommendation - in return for favorable blog mentions? Like tech events sponsored by leading publications, the partnership can be implicit or explicit. Which is the case here? Winer is whining below.
  • Facebook is adding recommendated friends. Is this an effort to reduce the negative publicity for Facebook? Negative press could lead to the removal of a respected blog from Facebook's celebrity list.
  • Some twitters have received money for their tweets. In the past, bloggers have received money and free products in return for favorable mentions. Arrington has accused Winer of receiving funds. Is this a problem?
  • With thousands of whales at Twitter (i.e. users with over 10,000 followers), are they editors, promotional consultants, or just friends of friends? As an aggregate group, do they replace new media?
  • PR and social media consultants now have 70,000 personal followers at Twitter. Isn't that equivalent to the circulation of legacy magazines? Do these numbers help or hurt the credibility of these media consultants? After all, if they have sooo many loyal followers, why do they need credible publications like Techcrunch? Can't they produce results for their clients using their own followers? 
I remember the policies at IDG where editors could not receive a casual, free lunch, the good old days. Today, we can't separate the press agents, media editors, and advertising promoters among the millions of operators. 

Just asking questions. Has new media gotten ugly?

Does Mashable have credibility re Twitter? 

from Scripting News
A picture named skittles.gifThis article by Pete Cashmore at Mashable is now the top item on TechMeme.

Cashmore is one of very small number of users who Twitter includes in their Suggested Users List, which has resulted in huge growth in their number of followers. 

Three months ago, he had 28,621 followers. Today he has 417,347. In the same timeframe my Twitter feed grew from 16,062 to 21,108, which represents something of a baseline for users not gifted by Twitter with placement on the SUL. (Source:twittercounter.com.)

Did Twitter favor him with this gift because they like what he says about them, or to encourage him to be more favorable in his writing? Or some other reason? Did he pay for this placement? (Note that would, imho, be the ethical thing to do, and the same deal should be offered to everyone.)

Would Cashmore withhold or temper criticism of Twitter because he fears they may cut him off?

Would a reader question his impartiality? (This reader does. I can't see how he can help but be influenced.)

Does this kind of favoritism hurt Twitter as a medium for journalism?...

Can the Statusphere Save Journalism?

by Brian Solis on April 11, 2009

Recently, I enjoyed a refreshing and invigorating dinner with Walt Mossberg. While we casually discussed our most current endeavors and experiences, the discussion shifted to deep conversation about the future of journalism in the era of socialized media with one simple question, “are newspapers worth saving?”

Walt thought for no more than two seconds and assertively replied, “It’s the wrong question to ask. The real question we should ask is if whether or not we can save good journalism.” He continued, “Think about it. Of the hundreds, thousands, of newspapers around the country, there are really only a few that matter. Good journalism and journalists, on the other hand, are worth saving.” ...

As Walt said, “there are truly only a handful of media properties in print worth saving, the rest is comprised of great journalists and recycled national news.”

So what of those brilliantly articulate, passionate, and scintillating writers whom we identify, admire and connect with in each article they share?

It’s not unlike the renaissance currently underway in the music industry. Artists are discovering that they have a Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) channel to reach fans and cultivate relationships. Those in touch with technology and the cultures of online societies can bypass traditional music production and distribution altogether.

I guess I’m saying that at a time when traditional routes to journalism careers are being questioned, exceptional journalists can create their own destiny. Their future is in their notepads (or laptops), ready to escape from paper to online and the real world.

The connection with readers, once established, multiplied, and fed, is seductive and unquenchable....

The Statusphere is the new ecosystem for sharing, discovering, and publishing updates and micro-sized content that reverberates throughout social networks and syndicated profiles, resulting in a formidable network effect of activity. It is the digital curation of relevant content that binds us contextually to the statusphere, where we can connect directly to existing contacts, reach new people, and also forge new acquaintances through the friends of friends effect (FoFs) in the process.

Twitter, Facebook News Feeds, FriendFeed and other micro communities that define the Statusphere, are driving action and determining the direction and course of individual attention. It is inducing a more participatory, engaging, and enlightened community of media-literate information socialites.

I’d also argue that the Statusphere will ultimately replace bookmarks and RSS feeds as a traffic driver for the masses, as we increasingly rely on friends and peers to serve as our social seismograph for relevant and contextual data....

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