Thursday, July 03, 2008

We are the eighth mass media

Today saw the first Eat'n'Tweet. If you'd like to join us at the next one, add your contact details in a comment - or just your twitter name, or follow me and look out for updates!
It gathered a truly energised group of people to discuss everything from mobile advertising to group forming network theory and all stations in between.

The bit that sticks in my head was a discussion about Mobile As The Seventh Mass Media. I won't go into the detail of why mobile needs to be considered a separate and distinct mass medium (the first is print, second recordings, third radio, fourth cinema, fifth TV, sixth internet) because Alan Moore & Tomi Ahonen have that covered in their excellent white paper and presentations.

The notion prompted the question: So if mobile is the 7th mass media, what is the 8th?

Jonathan MacDonald suggests 'Mobility', I suggest something around treating the 'user' (horrible term, but bear with me) as the destination, driven by real-time response to the expression of shared purpose.

It's a notion at the heart of my white paper Communities of Purpose are the Busness Units of the 21st Century and revisited with a distribution/marketing-focus in We Are All Publishers Now (Media Transformative).

Jon and I are both speaking about the same thing - and no doubt will come up with the right word to describe it in the end...(hey J_mac?)

My best stab right now is "We are the eighth mass media".

 I don't just mean that we create it in a UGC vs Professional Content Creators kind of way. I mean WE are the distribution, the content, the 'user journey', how messages are transmitted... WE are the medium and the media carried within it.

We are the connections. We are also how the connections are made.

It is this that marks the crucial shift, how the connections are made, and which will help us recognise when the eighth mass media emerges.

When we can express our metadata globally in real time, beyond any silos, when we can find other people who want to solve the same problem (who share your purpose) right now as we do, people who will join us in solving it right now (because it also holds value for them, right now), then, the eighth mass media arrives.

And then how value is created really does shift. Group forming with no silos. A new world.


  1. We are definitely saying the same thing as my version of mobility is mobility of thought, emotion, recommendation and advocacy.

    Ergo - the 8th mass media in my opinion is as much 'we' as 'I' as 'us'.

    Where my 'mobility' term comes in is that I believe that there will increasingly be a shift away from an actual MEDIA TYPE to a mashup of all prior media types that will be increasingly mobilized (this is categorically different from a mobile phone).

    I am talking ANY machine and a screen and the real-time connection between all information, creation and expression.

    I believe the mobility of television, print, internet, etc is device agnostic in the new world.

    As you may know from my blog, I believe the most effective form of advertising is personal recommendation - as seen on what I call 'The Advocacy Dial':

    So - my argument against the 'we' point (not in a negative way) is solely that we have ALWAYS been THE MASS MEDIA - rather than the next or newest.

    However - me and you Cush (and whomever else wants to join) should discuss this more as there is a conceptual shift here and I enjoy being part of this conversation (so long as we don't append some sodding digit to the end of it and wrap the whole bang shoot up as 3.0 or some such nonsense ;)

  2. This is a great discussion. I've added my ten cents worth here: but in a nutshell I believe it may pay developers to focus on providing basic services that empower non-tech people to control and manage their webspace, and although this isn't seen by many as the next big thing, from a development company's point of view doing so may create sound economic prospects.

  3. @Fletch - good point. Nowadays non-tech people can build their own site and sell access to it very easily thanks to many simple tools available these days. I show people how to use free/cheap and easy tools like Wordpress, paypal and email to build a quick members-only area in a day. I do this myself to test a market before expanding into a larger membership site.


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?