A followup to the previous post. I’m sitting in a courthouse jury pool in Marlborough, Massachusetts as I write this, and in the jury pool room is a TV with a daytime talk show playing, talking about digital tactics to spy on your significant other. A quick check of other channels by one of the jurors reveals more of the same on nearly every other channel.
This is the wasteland of media on the other side of the digital divide, entertainment for the lowest common denominator – entertainment that is so crude and base that anyone can consume it. It’s mental fast food.
How many people are sitting in living rooms, kitchens, even workplaces today being forced to consume only what’s on the mainstream media outlets? How many people have no other choices because they don’t know other choices are available?
Our mission as new media producers has to strongly incorporate outreach. At each PodCamp I attend, I usually present on the topic of podcast marketing, and without fail at least one member of the audience wonders why I’m “giving away my secrets”. It’s a valid question, and the answer is simple: the more people who tune into podcasts of any kind, the more reach we ALL have. Once you tap into one podcast, it’s only natural to find other kinds of new media that fits your interests. If each podcast producer brings in 10 new people a month, with over 250,000 podcasts being produced, you’re talking millions of new listeners. That’s why I give away as much as I can – it benefits me, too.
Mainstream media caters to the lowest common denominator of content because they can’t provide highly focused, highly targeted content. We as new media producers can. The Internet is an infinitely large radio dial, an infinitely large TV tuner. Instead of being forced to choose from a palette of bland, offensive, or pointless on the TV tuner, we can offer audiences content that is relevant, focused, targeted to their interests, and create conversations and communities around the content that will make life better for our audiences.
The most important email I’ve ever received as a podcast producer was from a girl on MySpace who listened to my podcast and was inspired to go back to college to complete her degree. She’d dropped out a couple of years back. How many people has Jerry Springer encouraged to go back to college?
I know lots of other new media producers who’ve reported similar experiences.
We can reach global audiences.
We can provide our audiences with content that’s useful, relevant, and focused.
We can engage our audiences in conversation and change lives for the better.
Rip open the metaphorical shirt and reveal your superpowers to the world. Bring as many people into new media as you can. Serve your audiences as best as you can, and we can not only combat the wasteland of mainstream media, but also make the world a better place.