Recently, I have been struck by the prevalence of certain ideas -- and they are provocative ones. They play like the feistiest of pet
ideas. But in their glibness, are they just a little too precious? Outrageous in their simplicity? Or is their frequency a clue to our actual course?
"Integration is an overused buzzword and old news." Though single-channel advertising or marketing is truly yesteryear's approach, integration as a principle is still quite open to interpretation. True, the term is trite business-speak, as is convergence. But integration means so many different things to different people that it seems premature to tie it up in a bow and toss it aside. Or we may need a new word for exercising the principle and keeping up the evolution. The reality of integration is not yet given, or a universal truth.
"The World Wide Web is going away." Many the futurist
in my midst has proclaimed this. It does sound like hyperbole to many of us, but it's obvious our view of platforms is forever changed. While the Web has been a catalyst for growth and remains a part
of the mix, we now seem to be a cross-platform-producing and -consuming culture. The Web's future will sort itself out over time, with us as its life-force. And while our experiences may not be
strictly Web-resident, rumors of the its death must still be exaggeration.
"Social search is the future of search." There are a lot of ideas and market developments adjacent to this claim. For those paying attention, the increasingly integral relationship between search and social is undeniable. We now optimize not only content, but all available assets -- images, video, multimedia, utilities -- for discoverability. Much of this trend thrives by playing to the increased socialization of digital: ranking, digging, creating favorites, sharing and so on. The social status of our assets matters in the eyes of search. For those focused on staying current with practices of integration (gasp!), this is awesome stuff.
Adjacent to all this is the hunch that social media is actually capable of outright replacing search -- that traditional search portal query environments, call and response, will be usurped by a super-savvy global Tweighborhood. As companion ideas, both search theories are important.
"Microblogging is replacing journalism." This is another one of those pithy remarks in the vein of "X is killing Y" that so many of our brood love. But, just as the Web as a vehicle could not "replace" the practices of original reporting, beat journalism or journalism at-large, neither can the Web's offspring, the microblog, do that. Just as clipping is not curatorial, excerpting and short-linking are not coverage, and straight aggregating or headline feeding is not journalism. New vehicles of this sort have had undeniable impact, to which the respective stations of citizen journalists and sanctioned news organizations are adjusting. But let's not confuse ourselves with sweeping generalizations.
By the way, it was a quick read of a very good interview with an old friend of mine from graduate school that got me rounding up these popular ideas overnight. I wanted to
see all the pieces in one place. Said friend Clara Jeffery is editor in chief of Mother Jones, a nonprofit magazine driven by investigative reporting -- and she, her co-editor and staff are
leading the charge on a major cooperative reporting venture between news organizations. The piece presents a fresh concept for the
times: "Citizen journalism? Um, how about crowdsourcing journalism with actual journalists?"
Pretty engaging concept, that, of citizen journalism and crowdsourcing, and what constitutes what. In its knowing smile, it challenges numerous modern-day media definitions. Ponder this one, too. And then we'll talk more.