Social Media Collides/Merges with Traditional Media at CES

I’ve heard from a small handful of people that some groups or individuals were disqualifying bloggers at CES. I also experienced first hand how a hybrid form can be created.

In one case, I heard that in the CES press room a discussion occurred where one blogger told another that they prefer to read blogs to get news, rather than traditional press.

A member of the traditional press got really upset, raised his voice, causing much of the table to look over, and he left in a furious stomp. It was suggested that he felt his job was threatened.

I also heard from others about how bloggers are discredited as “any idiot with an opinion”. I had an engaging conversation with Steve Brobeck and Teresa (who I saw at the airport) suggested that the problem isn’t with bloggers but with the inaccurate content.

Update: Renee Blodget has experience with both Traditional and Social Media and observed more a a collision rather than a merger, her post is highly relevant and is a must read.

The BlogHaus was a different beast, we had members of the press (NYTimes, Financial Times, Cnet and other distinguished publications) mix and mash with social media. Together we created something new, it was wonderful. Those from the traditional space that open up, join the conversation will matter and be relevant.

Expect bloggers to be treated like Press and Analysts
There were more than one blogger lounge at CES this year, and we should all expect there to be 5 -10 blogger lounges next year at CES. As you know, I was blessed in being invited to meet with Michael Dell the Chairmen of Dell Computers as a blogger.

Change is happening, either get on the train, or get out of the way.

Update: A must read by Blog Business Summit Mainstream Media Feeling Threatened by Bloggers at CES

  • The impact of blogs has begun to be felt, I suspect. The biggest myth that they’ve debunked is the myth that “news” exists without context, culture, or objective. Different groups not only find an interest in different stories but come at those stories differently. The blogosphere can offer that enormous diversity of perspective more readily than can a news outlet.

    Thanks for the interesting insight into the media – blog interaction. Very intriguing.

  • I posted a response to this post at BBS (link is my name) but I couldn’t find a trackback URL, so I’m commenting instead.

    It was great to see you at the airport! I’m looking forward to next year.


  • Hi Jeremiah,

    I watched a couple vids at bloghaus. It appeared to be an orgy of LCD screens; it was studio54 with laptops and cameras replacing the sex and cocaine. Very hip vibe.

    The climb to power/large audience is nearly the same for old and new medium: you start at the bottom and work your way up. A columnist for NYT probably got their start in high school or college newspaper. You don’t fall out of bed and wake up the anchor of a national television news broadcast. Most start at the bottom and work their way up to larger and larger audiences, just like you do with blogging.

    The main difference is that for traditional media, the audience share is controlled to a great extent by the vehicle itself. The individual jumps from smaller venues (TV, print, ec…) to larger ones and so on (or even from inside section to front page, reporter to co-anchor).

    With blogging the audience grows with the speaker and follows them. You have an audience because of you, not because you have a slot in an existing medium with a large user base. When you jump to another domain or place, the people will follow you more readily than they would switch newspaper subscriptions for a single journalist leaving.

    It is interesting to see the blogging community do traditional media things–I see there are more and more blogging ‘magazines’ where many authors publish to a single site. I would bet a new blogger could fast track their marketshare with the right consortium.

    Regardless of the medium, you have to learn the ropes and earn the audience, even more so with blogging since it is very individualistic. If a blogger has a large following/audience, why shouldn’t they be treated like other Press/Analysts. It’s the size of the audience that ultimately gets you inside.

  • Your observations are right of course. Yes bloggers are starting to be part of ‘traditional’ media.

    Do note however, that they only stay as ‘bloggers’ if they credit and respect the communities that the belong to.

  • Yeah, but I think traditional press/analysts have the same restrictions, their community may just less distributed or more elitist. They have editors, bosses, and so on. With blogging you are kind of self employed and have to wear all the hats.

    Given that blogging just isn’t as matured a medium. do you think flame wars a sign of blogging adolescence? You don’t see traditional analysts/press do that much (do you?). Or is that the real strength of blogging and a sign of it’s maturity?

  • Imagine being the journalist who got crabby, the one who felt threatened.

    He went to school to become a journalist. He took an entry level job, built a career, and did good work. Then, his industry transformed, and his business began to ‘downsize’. His co-workers and friends were let go. He now has to do double the work for the same pay. He constantly hears pressure from management that ad revenues are down, and more changes are coming. He wants to write a blog, but management tells him he can’t. He has no idea what he’s going to do when his job is eliminated, because he spent his entire career within his niche. What else would he do? Where else would he get the same level of compensation, provide insurance for his family, and receive the same job satisfaction as in his current job, in an industry that is dying?

    So he has those pent-up frustrations, and then flips his lid when folks talk about blogging and media consumption preferences.

    If you were charged with helping this individual re-invent his career, what would you recommend he do — especially if he feels constrained by his current salary and benefits?

  • Teresa,

    When people link to this article, they usually show up as comments in this template. I’ve updated the post to reflect your thoughts.

  • Kevin

    I’m empathetic to these changes, and if you read carefully, I’m suggesting it can work.

    I know quite a few bloggers that have a journalism background. My colleague Robert Scoble is one.

    Why can’t a journalist can start a personal blog (just like they have personal email). Could they create one separate from their company? How about an anonymous one?

    Blogs are just another tool that can help get the word out and bloggers are yet another aspect of the media.

    It will work. We’re making it work we can co-exist.

  • “Why can’t a journalist can start a personal blog (just like they have personal email). Could they create one separate from their company? How about an anonymous one?”

    1. The journalist may be constrained by policies with the existing company.
    2. Creating a separate one can = conflict of interest.
    3. An anonymous one would mean less credibility.

    Journalism, despite all of the flaws, does have a responsibility to *try* and look at things objectively. If not, this is where I think the blogosphere, and possibly community involvement by the blogger and/or journalist, can help make this expectation more realistic & more credible. The phrase “Keeping them honest” comes to mind…

  • My experience at CES this year with some of the Professional Bloggers wasn’t exactly confidence inspiring. I’m one of the Dell customers who attended the roundtable. As a non-professional blogger, I felt the need to make a statement on my experience… here’s the main point.. the URL to the complete message is below…

    “…Professional Bloggers are now being let into government offices, courtrooms and other venues where traditional media outlets were the sole eyes, ears and voices of the public. Your integrity as a person, and a professional matters. You have access to the movers and shakers of the business world and entertainment outlets. Don’t sell the rest of us out to get there.”

  • This has turned out to be a really good discussion. As a company, Dell is committed to communicating on all fronts, including blogs, which do not so much represent a trend in media but a shift of the communications sphere altogether.

  • Brian, this is a great comment:

    “I watched a couple vids at bloghaus. It appeared to be an orgy of LCD screens; it was studio54 with laptops and cameras replacing the sex and cocaine. Very hip vibe.”