I recently wrote in a post on opinions vs facts and what I will pay for in the new landscape of “news publications” are the opinions, that I don’t care just about the facts anymore. I can get those anywhere. I want opinions. They spur my mind to think about the facts. They present me with a sounding board and, albeit invisible, discussion partner.
But it’s important to understand that I don’t want just ANY opinions. I have plenty of opinions. My friends have lots of opinions (that they share through Facebook and other social network channels). What I want are “expert” opinions that I trust.
GigaOm recently wrote that it’s this “democratization” of media (all of the facts and news being reported through a variety of social networking channels) that is upending the traditional media:
To be honest, I disagree. The hyopothesis is that social media has brought back the tavern-like dissemination of media from the 19th century. And because of that, why do I need to pay a newspaper to provide me the same facts, but, more importantly, no opinions?
Although I love my friends and family, I don’t always agree with their opinions. In fact, I would say that in many cases, I don’t really want my friend’s opinions about the news (well, let’s categorize friends into close and distant or, friends and acquaintances). I don’t necessarily trust them. And that’s the key. Trust. What I want as an avid consumer of information is trusted opinion about that information. It’s why I read specialty magazines like Popular Science. I trust that the writers in that publication are sufficiently educated and expert enough to write intelligently not only about the facts but also about what those facts might mean. Of course if one of my friends happened to be a rocket scientists, I might throw him a link to a news story (again, this could come from anywhere as the facts are all the same) and ask for his opinion.
Newspapers and traditional media have a great opportunity to grow into this. Their reporters, pundits, news casters, etc. are all perceived as experts that people trust (well, besides the conspiracy theorists). What if, for example, Facebook launched a program that allowed a newspaper or other media outlet to offer a subscription to their status updates? So I pay $.99/mo to include their status updates on my wall (or maybe this is a special section of my Facebook although I would argue that I spend 90% of my time just in my FB newsfeed). That way I get special links to interesting opinions about the news they are reporting, in general, everywhere else.
Like I wrote in that previous post, I feel that this is fundamental change happening in “traditional vs. new” media. From facts to opinions. In order for these traditional media companies to survive in this new order, where facts are free and available anywhere, where opinions are critical to making sense of the facts, they have to embrace the new channels and establish themselves as trusted, expert opinions.
Image courtesy of blog.ketchum.com.
Originally posted 2011-07-10 19:29:14.