Subsidize Print Media or Botox Free Journalism?

Under the watchful eyes and busy keyboards of millions of online mavericks, social networkers quietly drive change that will eventually take top billing on the media money stage. For now anyway, most folks don’t have a clue about the dollar value of social network mining, or #scrm, or its advocates, stirring under the hood of the Internet. Sure, everyone has heard of the blog, the Twitter, the Facebook and LinkedIn and many others are familiar to folks depending on their interests. The flurry of widgets and hookups are exciting to watch, and they are getting sorted out smartly by the right people. Like fungi after the first rains, new companies are popping up from all over the world and the global signficance is stunning. Collaboration is everywhere. But there are no board meetings at Intel or Cisco focused on the value in the C-suite Tweeting out their days, and neither Ellison nor Palmisano are actively considering shifting marketing budgets to capture the online branding potential of their social acumen.

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After watching eCommerce and marketing and advertising coevolve, the last fifteen years, it’s clear consolidation will happen soon, quickly, and often. Once the data is in and value is identified, we will see more rigid platforms and offerings and a staple offering everyone can fit into a power point presentation. I’m kidding. For now, it’s a game for gamblers and it’s back to the old notions of whatever works, will prevail. Maybe. On the other hand, old institutions die hard and the government is trying every which way possible to put money in ever single business other than technology apparently. Main Stream Media (MSM) buffs are cooing and cogitating these days over how much dinero they can get in handouts to fend off upstarts like us. When bloggers become bullies.

A PBS debate aired yesterday, entitled, "Good Riddance To Mainstream Media?" featured Jim VandeHei, executive editor of Politico, Michael Wolff, columnist for Vanity Fair and the founder of news aggregator newser, John Hockenberry, co-host of The Takeaway, a national morning news program co-produced by WNYC Radio and Public Radio International on the digital side, and Phil Bronstein, executive vice president and editor at large of the Chronicle, I have no idea what the "at large" means in this case but it may be related to his brief time with Sharon Stone, David Carr columnist for the Monday Business section of The New York Times that focuses on media issues and Katrina vanden Heuvel editor and publisher of The Nation.

Not necessarily the Komodo who bit Phil Bronstein
Not necessarily the Komodo who bit Phil Bronstein

This was definitely the too many martooni set, inside-the-beltway, with a one-sided discussion about the evaporation of print advertising dollars and how the folks who own the printers, and often the trees the paper is printed on, would justify extorting money from taxpayers because they failed to take the Internet seriously, and they still haven’t a clue how to make a living using it. I kept thinking Woody Allen would walk by, or Marshall McLuhan, and I would know it was a dream.

And every time I think of Phil Bronstein I can’t help wonder if he had that poor Komodo dragon killed for mistaking his big toe for a rat. And I also think everyone around the bay deserves to know if that was the foot for which the botox was used. If anything is going to cause a foot to stink, it would be a Komodo dragon bite. Course, if you were one of the lucky ones to get one of those bank bailouts, or $15,000 Chevies or Buicks, and it only cost taxpayers $25,000, maybe you’ll be happy for the billionaires getting bailed out again. We’d just love to get your view on how much you feel printed, tactile, information is worth and how many of your tax dollars you would like to share with the likes of the Sulzbergers, Bronsteins and vanden Heuvels?

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