Disintermediation can be a nightmare for many of us! Should we join the blogosphere purifyers?

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Is it professional blasphemy to draw a comparison between some of the worries over the excessive autonomy of the blogosphere, recently voiced by the Presidents of Iran and China but clearly argued and prepared by their public relations advisors, and the growing frustration that many of us who work for, or inside some of the larger institutions and corporations nurture for that same environment?

In both cases the reasons are, at least, twofold:

a) ignorance of the phenomena and the difficulty of truly grasping its relevance, for lack of accepted measurement and evaluation criteria clearly understood by the immediate elitist and middle-to-old age environments in which we operate;

b) difficulty in influencing that environment with anywhere near the same effectiveness compared to traditional mainstream media, nor of understanding the effects of whatever efforts we may wish to make.

If you read the very carefully crafted but clearly understandable words used by our colleagues who write for Hu Jintao purifying the internet.doc, President of China, or for the President of Iran (name too complicated) you will notice how close they are to not having the faintest clue of the environment they have decided to comment about and how worried they are about the potential consequences of the game going too far.

Isn’t this what many of us feel? Wouldn’t we prefer to return to old fashioned institutional websites where you controlled all contents and could refer your ‘pet’ journalists to, when they needed more info? Oh yes! That was a good period indeed!

Now, we cannot even go to sleep or take a plane or go into a meeting without being bombarded by rss feeds, sms’s from monitoring services and many other alert contraptions, without having a faint idea if what we read will be read and picked up by someone else, and someone else and someone else and finally get to your boss who will bark at you for not being able to influence what all these guys, who have nothing else to do in life than worry and write about you!

Life was relatively easy when our job depended on having an energy source (do we know how and why a light or a computer turns on when we click?). But who really noticed?

Now we are being harassed by do-gooders who try to persuade us that we even need something like XPRL, a universal public relations computer language that even obliges us to agree on what we mean by what we do and have learned to do by doing….

Is this the beginning of the end of one way communication as we have learned to do it? Even marketers and advertising people are beginning to think this.

Are we moving from one way communication to what others increasingly call conversation, only to get away from the stereotypical way we communicate-to?

Is this only a fad? Of course it is! It must be!

But what if it wasn’t? Then what will we be able to achieve in a few years time? Is this what they mean by the term disintermediation?

What a nightmare!

5 COMMENTS

  1. I believe that disintermediation in media is a positive thing. The Internet shows that many people connecting trough a neutral medium can produce value for every body. Which is very different from the mass media landscape, where few produce value only for themselves.
    Ciao. Nicola

  2. I thought that one way communication was dead a long time ago, when two way symmetrical communication were described by Professor Grunig as “excellent public relations”. And a two way symmetrical flow of communication is nothing else than a conversation. Or not?

  3. nicola,
    I cannot agree that mass media is an environment in which few produce value (acceptable statement) only for themselves (unacceptable). Professional journalism at its best produces more value for the public interest than any other form of expression I can think of….
    italo,
    helas! I wish you were right. One way communication is still the prevalent form today in our profession. In my pessimism, might even begin to think that advertisers and marketers will turn the conversation message into diffused practice before we do….
    it seems to me we are unrepented spinners…also, I am beginning to feel that all this retoric about the younger generations coming out of colleges with different expectations and ideas about pr, for which I am to blame at least as much, if not more, than many others, is really gigo (garbage in, garbage out).
    a bad day?

  4. All contributors

    I am working on a PhD (Communication Management)and I focus on cyber activism and then specific issues pertaining to corporate communication.

    What I find delightful is the fact that more and more commentators realise the value of understanding new forms of social expression and then technical vehicles like blogs.

    If you are interested, you can reciew some of the ideas by Juliet Roper (New Zealand)regarding the Internet’s ability to return power to civil society.

    If anyone is interested in this/have done proper research on cyber activism and the implications for corporate entities, I would really appreciate it if you could contact me:

    Anné Leonard
    Lecturer
    Department of Marketing and Communication Management
    University of Pretoria
    South Africa

    anne.leonard@up.ac.za

  5. Anne, I’m not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I’ll point you to two different organizations/websites. (The start-up impetus for both came from Canadians, but their intentions are for worldwide activism/advocacy/positive implications.)

    GiveMeaning http://www.givemeaning.com/default.aspx

    From its About page http://www.givemeaning.com/about/about:

    GiveMeaning exists to reduce the barriers separating people’s generosity from the problems that need attention, close to home and far away. Anyone is welcome to identify problems by posting and rating news Stories and by submitting Proposals that, if supported by the community, turn into fundraising initiatives, which in turn provide funds for tangible Projects addressing needs in specific communities around the world.

    Whether you have $5 or $50,000 to give, Donors looking for something to support will find hundreds of possibilities at GiveMeaning representing a world of causes. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can start a Project to address an issue you’re passionate about, whether you’re an individual, a registered charity, or a grassroots non-profit.

    GiveMeaning enables people to act on their concerns and intentions by developing a specific fundraising Project that addresses the issue. Anyone can start a Project at GiveMeaning, whether they are concerned individuals, local grassroots groups, or established organizations. GiveMeaning offers fundraisers of any scale anywhere in the world the opportunity and the means to connect their Projects with supporters in an efficient and personal way, while ensuring everyone’s right to privacy.

    For people who want to support a cause by raising money for it, GiveMeaning provides an engaging and creative opportunity to activate your good intentions. We invite people anywhere to start Projects to support whatever benevolent cause is closest to their hearts and minds – whether or not they are associated with an established organization serving that cause. 100% of the money raised will go towards the Project’s goals.

    TakingITGlobal http://takingitglobal.org/ is an international organization – led by youth and empowered by technology. TakingITGlobal connects youth around the world to find inspiration, information and get involved in improving their local and global communities.

    Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with a growing worldwide presence, the organization’s flagship program’ TakingITGlobal.org, serves as the most popular online community for young people interested in connecting across cultures and making a difference, with hundreds of thousands of visitors each month.

    TakingITGlobal works with global partners – from UN agencies, to major companies, and especially youth organizations – to build the capacity of youth for development, artistic and media expression, make education more engaging, and involve young people in global decision-making.

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