Sunday, March 7, 2010
A Day at the 2010 Nevada Interact Media Summit
Saturday I attended the Nevada Interact Media Summit, and wow I'm glad I did! It was informative, thought-provoking, and overall fantastic. From the get-go at 9am, I was thoroughly engaged by Erin Kotecki Vest's keynote. Maybe it's because of interest, or study, or intelligence, but some people just understand how to exist productively (and market) in online social networks. Erin is one, who also describes with ease and humor how you can be one too. She talked about social networks and marketing, including a lot about twitter. She said things like, "If you don't join the conversation where it is, it's going to happen without you", "Don't be a wuss", and talked about the importance of engaging the "magic middle"-- tweeters who have a network and community. I majored in media studies at USF, so analytical, in-depth discussing about media is not new to me, but I finished 1.5 years ago and oh how refreshing it was to be in this setting again. Thanks Erin!
Next I went to hear Camilla Downs's interpretation of Facebook. The audience seemed to be mostly made up of people older than me who weren't introduced to Facebook in their college years like I was-- people who wanted to understand how to best utilize Facebook for marketing their businesses. I went to see Camilla because my struggle with Facebook is that since it has solely been a place for friends, until now, I struggle with how I should be using it for professional contacts as well. I feel a constant battle between being myself and marketing myself (As the day went on I realized these can and should be the same thing...) Camilla gave some insight-- "Do [on Facebook] what fires your passion!" She also talked about the value of Facebook fan pages and groups, where it's advantageous to use keywords and keyword phrases since on Facebook you dont have to pay for SEO. I also learned from Ms. Downs that you can connect your blog and notes section on Facebook easily so that every time you create a new post on your blog it automatically goes to your Facebook page as well.
At 11 a.m. I heard Mike McDowell's perspective on new media. I had heard he gives a good talk. He did! His presentation was well-organized- he presented complex ideas in a digestible fashion. He started by saying how we have gone from a "broadcast model" of media to a "many-to-many" style. Instead of just receiving information, now we toss it back and forth to each other as it becomes the news. He made sense of social networks by equating them to a dinner or cocktail party. "We don't go to a dinner party to hear a speech- we want to have a conversation, engage...that's why the broadcast model is dissolving..." and, "You don't want to hang out with people who are always selling. Ask their opinion!" He encouraged blogging. "Blogging gives you a human voice. Establish yourself as a thought leader!" I also liked an explanation he gave of the value of [online] social networks. "The problem with social networks in the real world is that our connections are hidden." Online, it's all laid out in front of us. See a friend has a friend you'd like to know? Connect. McDowell also made a point about Twitter I like- that even if someone is just talking about mowing the lawn, it's interesting to us because it makes us feel connected (And as we all know, in the end, human connection = life) . And McDowell helped me understand my struggle between marketing myself and being myself, between professional and personal. "I don't think there's going to be a distinction between personal and professional ever again." It's a matter of streamlining the two, he pointed out. AHhhhh! Realization. Thanks, Mike.
At lunch I skipped out to take a test for a part-time job with the 2010 census. (Want one?) If I can make money while going door-to-door talking to people about their lives, I'm there. What a way to learn about peoples' stories, gain perspective on the current time we're in and get ideas for documentary...
About 30 of us Nevadans showed up for the test. The Grandma next to me (I'm not being smart she talked to me about her grandkids) reminded me how to multiply decimals beforehand, and I scored a 98! Which made me feel smart.
Back at 3 p.m. for the How Interactive Media will Change Journalism discussion including panelists D. Brian Burghart, editor of the Reno News and Review, Beryl Love, editor of the Reno Gazette Journal, and Kirk Caraway, creator of CarsonNow.org, moderated by Tracy Viselli. The future of journalism is a fascinating topic for obvious reasons, and I think a polarizing one. The group seemed to go back and forth for the hour about what has changed, how much it has changed, how much more it is going to change and how much it will have to change.
They all seemed to believe professional journalism will exist forever in some capacity. It is just a matter of how it will be monetarily sustained. Now people are used to getting things for free. Will this change? "When will be the iTunes moment? We are waiting...People will pay for something if it has value, if it is not commoditized..." Beryl Love said on his prediction that some sort of micro-payments for articles will ensue.
Burghart noted how journalism has changed a lot, but also not at all. Sure there's a new online community, but there's also the community that has always existed at the Reno News and Review office. People come into the office all the time, in person, offering their opinions. Caraway has the perspective of working in the newspaper industry since age 9 on his parents newspaper, and remembered editing the old fashioned way, and also when the Internet first came out and it took him a week to realize how powerful it could be. He just started a new site, CarsonNow.org, a nonprofit news service and community journalism site on which anyone can post news, photos, and videos.
As for me, I am of the perspective that there will always be an element of slowing down to consume media the old-fashioned / paid way. Lately I am on the computer all day while articles and videos zoom past and I do my fair share of zooming through them, but sitting down to read the newspaper the paid way (whether on my kindle or in paper form), watching the Oscars, or the Olympics, or going to see a movie in the theatre, means slowing down for me. There's something else these all have in common-- they're communal. They involve spending time with other living breathing individuals. Reading doesn't, but perhaps reading something physical means spending time solely with yourself, instead of reading something online while you are scattered thinking of how you should tweet it, link to it, share it in your status update, or email it... As Love pointed out, his mom reads the RGJ online from across the country, but still cuts out physical articles that mention him for a scrapbook for when she dies. The ratings for the Superbowl, the Olympics, and the Oscars are all up this year. Avatar has made $2,603,189,342 to be the highest grossing film ever (with Titanic next at only $1,835,300,000). The Superbowl set the mark this year for the most watched telecast ever (abc.com)
Other take-aways the panelists discussed include: there's now an accountability and a conversation that exists in journalism because of the digital realm that wasn't there before; the consumption of news is far greater than ever before...; and that "In the end, people get what they want...When they don't get what they want, things change..." - Love
I ended the day mind-boggled at Colin Loretz and Annie Vranizan's 50 Apps to Fuel Your Online Business Seminar (See slides here).
Together they presented 50 Apps in 50 minutes, and in a way that was easy to understand! How do they keep all of this information in their brains?! Some people are just special. Most of the apps I have not used and most of them I now feel like I should use. The friendly man next to me saw the overwhlemed look on my face and assured me not to worry, that I didn't need ALL of them, no matter how cool and worthwhile they all seem.
Here are the ones I noted that I should definitely use or look into, and Colin says he'll post the list in full with descriptions, URLs, and prices ASAP on his site soon...
Tweet Deck, Wordpress, Readability, RescueTime, Ustream, Audacity, Buzzword, GoogleVoice, SurveyMonkey, Toodledo, Scribd, Snagit, Tweetie, Adium Chat...
Thanks Nevada Interact 2010! I leave you now informed, inspired, and having written my first in-depth blog post in quite some time.