“We ARE the media” was the quote I remember most from SoCon08, my first encounter with social media. And at SoCon09, indeed both the social and mainstream media worlds had changed markedly. As SoCon10 looms this weekend in Atlanta, the landscape again is different.
Within the past few months, a couple of events have shown how major companies have had to react to the volatile and popular world of citizen journalism. Pepsi, one of the world’s largest food products companies, decided it could do without advertising on the Super Bowl, in favor of a $20 million social media campaign. And the New York Times, like other newspapers battered by a loss of advertising and readers, has decided to start charging for some content in 2011. In Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is moving to smaller facilities in the suburbs.
And it’s common for companies in various industries to devote full-time staffs to social media. In Atlanta, Newell Rubbermaid, UPS and Coca-Cola are among the corporate giants blogging, Tweeting and shooting video. Coke even crafted a new social media policy and posted it online. Media giant CNN expanded Rick Sanchez’s show on social media to two hours daily.
(Updated 1/28/2010) And another media machine, consumer advocate Clark Howard, discusses his use of social media in the video below. He also discloses that he makes more money online that he does from his syndicated radio network.
So fast has citizen journalism changed that turf wars are breaking out among the various networking sites. Twitter’s speed, simplicity and search prompted Google to incorporate real-time Twitter feeds into its searches. Also, Facebook, the most popular networking site, adopted a “via” feature that is similar to “retweets.” Business-oriented LinkedIn also links to Twitter accounts.
Watching and shooting online video now dominates Internet traffic. This further solidifies Google’s 800-pound gorilla status, as it owns YouTube and dominates search.
Personally, 2009 was the year I got firmly involved in all aspects of social media. My Tweets during the September flood in Atlanta led to a story in Atlanta Real Estate Forum, and another blogger in North Carolina was watching the Twitter accounts and included my efforts. Several of my videos were vetted for news coverage by CNN, and one of their top citizen journalists interviewed me for the iReport site. I also spoke on a social media panel at the AJC.
Also, I randomly became acquainted with three people from Spain who were visiting Atlanta during the holidays. I’m now linked to them on Facebook.
So it’ll be interesting to see what the next 12 months bring. For social media in Atlanta, the new year is about to begin.