Thursday, 19 March 2009

New Think for Old Publishing: Tweeting audience 1, publishers 0

There has been a great kerfuffle about the "New Think for Old Publishers" panel held at the South By Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, Texis. This conference sounds fantastic, revolving around new and interactive media (I'm downloading me some podcasts from it as we speak). The panel in question was promoted as traditional publishers sharing new ideas for interactivity. But it turned into a tedious half hour of introductions followed by "now YOU tell us your new ideas for our industry".

Little did they realise that they had completely lost the audience....and that all the action in the room was happening on Twitter. I love how Michael Tobis put it:

"...almost everybody in the audience was on a pre-announced twitter channel #sxswbp. And by the time anybody in the crowd got to ask anything, most of the crowd was in a very collective and connected foul mood."

I love that twitter (and subsequent blog posts) were able to give this audience a voice (and believe me, they had plenty to say - just check out the pages and pages of chatter on the twitter stream #sxswbp). After all, many of them are bloggers and essentially moved on to the new publishing model that traditional publishers are still wrapping their heads around. I highly recommend reading some of the posts from audience members, including "New Think? Not so much" by Kassia Kroszer and "Really New Think for Old Publishers" by William F. Aicher. I'll leave you with a quote from his blog as food for thought.

The ultimate “New Think” for the publishing industry that I’ve been pushing both in book publishing, as well as in the music publishing industry is to change the mindset that publishers are in charge and the customers should trust them. Instead, publishers need to stop trying to be tastemakers and instead realize that they are ultimately administrators of extraordinarily valuable copyright-protected content that they can build a brand around. Find content or creators that already have a following (and sometimes take risks on ones that have a potential to be big), cultivate those creators and their content with your professional editing staff and then get the content out to people.

William F. Aicher, "Really New Think for Old Publishers"

Powerful stuff!

Thanks to Heidi Allen for the heads up on this topic...she is quite rightly furious that publishers emerged from this looking like they have nothing to offer in the world of new media. And we we do have new ideas and innovative plans to interact with this world...check out what Henri van Engelen has to say on Wolters Kluwer and Next Generation publishing. However, I think this event (along with other situations) clearly indicates that publishers do need to be more savvy about how they engage with the new media community.


dreamingspires said...

Great post Linda. Will add a link to my post to yours -- I completely agree.