News orgs’ goal for 2010: Imagine tomorrow’s media world today

The legacy press — or the traditional media, or whatever we’re calling newspapers these days — has one main challenge for 2010, and it’s not finding a new business model. It has to do with vision. It has to do with being able to imagine a world that does not yet exist.

While the news media’s woes come from lagging ad rates and content that’s scooped up by aggregrators, those are symptoms of the main problem: an inability to imagine what media consumption will look like in one, five, 10 years.

My point is news organizations need to imagine how people will consume news in the future — even though it might not make sense to them today. Newspapers owners may want ink on their fingers, and a paper they can feel, but many of their customers don’t now — or won’t in five years. And they may think a newspaper web site should look like a newspaper, but it shouldn’t. (It’s normal to build something new based on something old. That happened in the computer world, too, with the first microcomputers modeled on a mainframe.)

The challenge for the news biz is to look ahead and imagine how people may want their news and information. It’s about format (online, by phone, through social media) and content (aggregated, local, tailored to their needs.) For local news operations, this mean “organizing a community’s information so the community can organize itself,” as Jeff Jarvis puts it.

For all media organizations, it means adding more value to what they offer readers, according to Jay Rosen. What it doesn’t mean is forsaking the journalistic mission in search of the “almighty hit,” as Lehigh University journalism professor Jeremy Littau puts it.


HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Twitter #Hashtags

One of the most complex features of Twitter for new users to understand is the hashtag, a topic with a hash symbol (”#”) at the start to identify it. Twitter hashtags like #followfriday help spread information on Twitter while also helping to organize it.

The hashtag is a favorite tool of conferences and event organizers, but it’s also a way for Twitter() users to organize themselves: if everyone agrees to append a certain hashtag to tweets about a topic, it becomes easier to find that topic in search, and more likely the topic will appear in Twitter’s Trending Topics.

So how do you disseminate and make sense of all this hashtag madness? By going through the art of the hashtag step-by-step, of course. This short guide details how to identify, track, use, and organize hashtags in an efficient and useful way. Just be sure not to flaunt your new hashtag wisdom.

Rise of the e-con: the internet style icon

The web has given rise to a new breed of fashion guru. You no longer have to be a celebrity or model – just a fashion enthusiast happy to put yourself on the line, online. Kelly Bowerbank picks out 10 of 2009’s cyber sages.

10 of the Best Social Media Tools for Entrepreneurs

Whether your company is just starting out, just starting to turn a profit or already on the verge of an acquisition, as an entrepreneur you’ll be constantly evaluating the tools that will help get your business to the next stage.

Even if the ink on the business plan isn’t dry yet, you want to be armed with the social media tools that will play an important role in company communication, product and brand promotions, and business development for your startup. Some of the tools in this list will be familiar, but it’s worth taking a moment to reframe how they might become power tools in a business context.