News is older than journalism itself and with the emergence of technology into the communications space, old media is clearly still having a difficult time merging their brick and mortar news approach into an integrated platform that clearly understands and could utilize social and digital media.
The disconnect between the old and the new could not have been more apparent than earlier this year (in July 2010) when old media heavy-weight TIME Magazine made an attempt at being new media savvy in releasing their list of the â€˜Top Blogs of 2010.â€™ In all fairness, any list that attempts to breakdown the more than 120 million blogs on the Internet will have enough flaws for the naysayers and ample fans of the left out to nip.
Unfortunately for TIME, their attempt at being â€˜in the knowâ€™ fell flat, face first, onto the pavement, offering an interesting glimpse into how an old media organizationâ€™s untimely and poorly developed stride to understand the digital space is so fundamentally underdeveloped that they missed the mark completely.
By failing to understand the true thought leadership, sharing power and marketplace behind what makes the information super highway work, the old war horseâ€™s list lacked the necessary facts for why the digital sociocultural revolution appeals to so many.
TIMEâ€™s list is comprised of the magazineâ€™s ‘Top 25â€™ overall choices as well as five â€˜essentialâ€™ and five â€˜overratedâ€™ blogs.
The magazine, which is most notable for its annual â€˜Person of the Yearâ€™ issue and bright red covers, rated both Tech Crunch and Gawker as â€˜essentialâ€™ reads for their salt-and-peppering demographic (the average reader of time is now just over 46-years old).
Surprisingly enough, somewhat disheartening and telling of the true disconnect between magazine editors and their audiences (as Rupert Murdoch once pointed out to The Economist,) TIME disregarded both Mashable and Perez Hilton as being â€˜overratedâ€™ despite their enormous audiences and vast imprints they can wield upon their influential readers. For example, Mika, Lady GaGa and Katy Perry could attest that thanks to Hiltonâ€™s influence their careers are a little brighter.
But while these two errors in judgment were surprising, TIMEâ€™s list completely ignored as non-relevant or â€˜essentialâ€™ the worldâ€™s largest, and arguably the webâ€™s most read and most influential political blog, The Huffington Post.
Blogs are news sources that treat their readers as peers, ask for content, share content and allow their readers to post comments encouraging conversations.
Peopleâ€™s passions are amplified by social media.
New media, unlike old media, is not about who has the bigger package in their pants and rules the school turf with a glossy notebook and an alpha personality, pummeling through to make oodles of cash and out-do their own business model.
Digitalâ€™s audience is media-savvy, is more interested in sharing, learning and most of all being treated like a peer, as opposed to an audience member. These people want to be spoken with, rather than spoken too.
The digital space gives them just that.
For example, TIME chose to highlight Scott Schumanâ€™s The Sartorialist for its fashion choice. And as much as I, personally, am a fan of the site as much as the next girl, there needs to be a distinction made between a true content-driven blogspace and a glorified FlickR account hosted on Blogger.
While, The Sartorialist was relevantly timely when it first started, as a glimpse into the streets and what people were really wearing, itâ€™s not the â€˜go-toâ€™ place for trends, news and commentary.
While, a picture can speak a thousand words in the case of The Sartorialist, at the core of when digital counts, a thousand actual words are what really matters.
Just ask Twitter, the micro-blogging platform whose success is due to more than a few billion words. There is a reason Twitter has seen phenomenal growth and can boast over 600 million search queries per day.
Online writing is authentic and raw; it is where the ascent of new media starts.
Digital is about the spread of information, knowledge and engagement because it affords people the opportunity to socialize information in an easy, free, accessible and fast way.
The sooner old media learns that, the sooner they can leverage the skills that made them successful to begin with into emerging media.
Journalism is not dying a slow, painful death, itâ€™s simply en route to change.
Sasha Muradali runs the Little Pink Book. She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida with a minor in Dance (â€™07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami (â€™08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the Little Pink Book delivered to your Kindle.