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.

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?