Time says 'You' are the Person of the Year, bloggers buy it
Monday, December 18, 2006
Well it seems the hot topic of the day is Time Magazine naming 'You' as its Person of the Year.
My take? Big deal.
Call me a cynic, but I'm guessing this was more a publicity stunt than anything else. Time knows that bloggers will go apeshit over this story, and we are. I just did a Google Blog Search for links to the Time POY piece, and there are already OVER 1,200 LINKS to the story!
I'm sure next week we'll have more mainsteam media jumping on this angle by making bloggers and YouTube fans and MySpacers part of their 'Best of 2006' list.
As Chris says: 'The majority of the public will say..."What's a blog?...."What's a YouTube?"..."Wiki-what?"'
Does Time let its writers blog? Does the magazine have a presence in Second Life? Are readers given the opportunity to submit stories? Does Time link to bloggers as sources for their stories?
I wondered as I read this passage from the Person of the Year article:
And we are so ready for it. We're ready to balance our diet of predigested news with raw feeds from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing. You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos—those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms—than you could from 1,000 hours of network television.
And we didn't just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.
Note that 'we' was tossed around early and often in that section. The beauty of social-media is that it gives simple communication tools to the masses. Always wanted your own pirate radio station? Now you can start a podcast. Always wanted your own website but didn't know enough about HTML to start one? Fire up a free blog. An aspiring filmmaker or simply a daredevil that loves attention? Welcome to YouTube.
But looking at Time's website, I don't think they are part of the same 'we' that the rest of us are. I see plenty of RSS feeds, and even a few blogs. But those are tools to send content MY way. How do I respond? If I go to the blogs on Time's website, I see that I can't leave comments. And ironically, the Person of the Year article itself doesn't accept comments or feedback. If Time really believes that social-media is so important that it's dubbed 'You' as the Person of the Year, then why won't they let 'You' send content back their way?
So Time, I have to call bullshit. This was simply a publicity stunt in order to get a boatload of free links, and an attempt to gain some relevance with bloggers. If you actually believed in the power of the people, you'd be using those tools to give us a way to let our voice be heard, instead of simply as another channel to push more content in our direction.
The Viral Garden, Marketing
posted by Mack Collier @ 9:33 AM,
- At 11:49 AM, said...
I'm with you on this one!
- At 11:51 AM, Nedra Weinreich said...
Right on, Mack! I agree with you.
- At 12:41 PM, Becky Carroll said...
Thanks, Mack. Your post highlights one of the issues with "typical" marketing today. Time is assuming that by mentioning "You" as their key person, that will get "You" very interested in Time. What should actually be happening is a dialogue with "You" in order to understand what "You" really want and need. And as you (Mack) point out, that is the key piece that is missing.
- At 1:00 PM, Mack Collier said...
"Time is assuming that by mentioning "You" as their key person, that will get "You" very interested in Time. What should actually be happening is a dialogue with "You" in order to understand what "You" really want and need."
Bingo! But that's too much work, and besides Time isn't interested in getting to know what our wants and needs are, they just want to sell more copies of their mag.
Course if they'd only realize that if they'd take the time to understand what 'you' want and need, then 'you' would probably be more inclined to buy their magazine.
- At 1:43 PM, marianne richmond said...
AGREE! It sounded like a Kool-Aid kiss up to me...so I put the Kool Aid pitcher in the mirror.
- At 2:04 PM, Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...
I agree, I do... but I do still think that this ploy to sell more magazines will yield a net result of greater exposure for our cause and will ultimately lead to greater credibility/ relevance of our fractious community.
It ain't all bad and even if they have dollar signs in their eyes, they are still driving interest our way. I'm down with that.
- At 2:06 PM, David Armano said...
Hasn't everyone figured out that Time is using us to become relevant again and we are using them to raise awareness?
- At 2:41 PM, Mack Collier said...
LMAO! Marianne, you need to put THAT on your blog ;)
Agreed Tim, it's ultimately mainstream media attention, and that helps.
David I think you nailed it, we're all using each other ;)
- At 3:23 PM, Ann Handley said...
As I wrote about today too (!), I'm not sure I really care whether TIME practices what it preaches. The bottom line is that it did catapult social media "stuff" into a greater sphere.
I like David's thinking here -- the Mutual Exploitation Society! LOL....
- At 6:25 PM, Paul McEnany said...
I'm going to have to go with DA on this one, too. There is definitely mutual exploitation. The fact that they did this added a nice shot of credibility with the general public that the blogosphere needs.
- At 7:56 PM, CK said...
I apparently came way late to this party, apologies. Pardon me and my bugger of a day.
Really great post, can't say I agree with all of it but thoughtful no less. And no one says "I call bullshit" with quite as much grit and charm at the same time as you.
sorry to have missed out on the debate earlier my friend.
- At 8:11 PM, Mack Collier said...
It's funny because when I started writing the post I was planning on going in a completely different direction.
But when I saw this passage:"And we didn't just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.".............my BS meter pegged, because Time wasn't part of the 'we' that did any of the above. They are the part of the MSM that only thinks social media is cool when it helps them sell their product.
But as DA, Paul, Tim and Ann said, that really doesn't matter because in the end, this story will bring more attention to the fun we are having with these tools, and maybe get some new people to join the party.
- At 1:23 PM, SEM Certification said...
Absolutely Mack because you are NOT the person of the year. I know who it is and its definitely not you.
- At 6:26 PM, Michael Wagner said...
"Mutual exploitation is such a cheap marketing trick...but as cheap marketing tricks go, its one of the best."
With apologies to Woody Allen and Ann.
Great conversation Mack!
Thanks for stirring the pot.
- At 10:01 PM, Gavin Heaton said...
It could be seen like getting a pat on the head from your Dad. But really, blogs are the illegitimate offspring (OK bastard children) of the publishing world. Will that child do as its told? Hell, no!
This announcement also marks an important milestone ... time for us to grow up, take up the challenges of business, brand engagement, communication and activation and show that social media is not about TALK but about compressing strategy and execution -- that it is about doing.
Exactly what you are talking about and DOING here, Mack ... growing communities, not talking at them.