My ABC National Radio Appearance

Instead of the American Broadcasting Company, it’s the Australian Broadcasting Company, and from an interview I did while in Sydney last week for the HARC Forum. The interview was for The Health Report, with Dr. Norman Swan.

We had a lively conversation, and I enjoyed getting to speak with Dr. Swan about our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media.

The program aired Monday morning in Australia.

Listen to the program or download it. And follow Dr. Swan on Twitter.

Let me know what you think.


“Quality” in Media = Usefulness

Advertising Age had an interesting article Wednesday – “Lowered Expectations: Web Redefines ‘Quality’” – regarding the challenges big media conglomerates have in a world in which publishing has been democratized. Here a couple of relevant excerpts:

Publishers from The New York Times to Condé Nast to NBC have been arguing for years that, ultimately, demand for quality would give them advantages over online upstarts: Users would demand it and advertisers would always covet the environment that quality can confer.

But they’re facing two trends that appear to be inexorable. Audiences that do not intently seek out quality are increasingly inured to traditional media brands on the web. At the same time, agencies and advertisers are adopting technologies that allow them to target individuals independent of whatever media they may be absorbing, making the media brand itself less important, perhaps even irrelevant.

“Today there seems to be a bigger premium on popularity — substantiated or not — than there is on authority,” said Group M CEO Rob Norman.

Big, established brands are the ones that least need the authority of media, and indeed many are adapting to a diminished world of old media by producing their own content. Where it starts to hurt are smaller brands that don’t have those advantages. Mr. Norman said it tends to be smaller brands that rely on the “the conferred quality, authority and scale of more traditional media forms to deliver brand messaging or persuade audiences.”

While I think this article highlights an important trend (that of quality being judged by average users instead of elites and big media brands), I have a bit of a different take. I agree that big brands that already have a substantial degree of trust have a great opportunity to create content and reach consumers directly, but I don’t see that smaller brands are terribly disadvantaged. They have an opportunity through the Web to reach “audiences” or “communities” directly, just as the more established brands do.

But whereas Mr. Norman says the new standard of quality seems to be “popularity” as opposed to “authority,” I think the real standard to be met is usefulness and trustworthiness. Web publishing enables real experts (for example, physicians and scientists) to contribute content, as an alternative to journalists and the mainstream media. So it’s not always popularity vs. authority; it can equally be one kind of authority (medical, scientific) vs. another type of authority (journalistic objectivity.)

The real opportunity for those who have been advertising is that instead of paying to interrupt consumers of quality media content with unwelcome marketing messages, they can produce content of their own that people actually want. That they find useful.

Guy Kawasaki Social Media Interview

I was honored a few weeks ago when someone I greatly admire, Guy Kawasaki, did a blog post highlighting one of my presentations about Mayo Clinic’s use of social media on the American Express Open Forum. Apparently he had seen it on and thought it was worth passing along.

I’ve been a fan of Guy’s ever since I read Selling the Dream in the early 90s. He was the original Macintosh software evangelist, who led the effort to get developers to write software for a computer that didn’t yet exist, and that was going against the IBM juggernaut. As a Mac guy, you might even say he was a hero to me.

So I was pretty jazzed when he included my presentation in his blog post, and even more excited when he said he wanted to do something more in-depth to fill in the gaps that you don’t necessarily get looking at a series of slides. He posted that interview (which we did by email) today on the American Express site, and linked to it from How to Change the World, his personal blog.

I’ve learned a lot from Guy over the years, both from his books and his blog. I especially appreciate his tips on doing good pitches and speeches, and how to be a good panelist (although he puts it less delicately). I try to incorporate his lessons into everything I do in public speaking and forums.

So while he hasn’t actually heard me speak, I’m honored that he liked my slides, and it’s been great getting a chance to interact with him by email. I hope you find our conversation useful.

Chapter 11 = 11 Cents Per Share for Sirius XM

They aren’t the only ones filing for bankruptcy lately, but it’s interesting that even a “new media” company like Sirius XM satellite radio is contemplating seeking relief from creditors:

 Sirius XM Radio Inc. has hired advisers to prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing, which could come in days, according to a news report. 

The New York Times said late Tuesday documents and analysis of a potential Chapter 11 filing are nearly complete, say people close to the company. 

Sirius, whose radio personalities include shock jock Howard Stern, has struggled to refinance its debt load at a time when banks are skittish about lending. About $1 billion worth of debt comes due in 2009. 

One of the supposed Sirius advantages was commercial-free music, available anywhere. But with Pandora available on the Web providing the same service (and customized channels that fit individual interests), and also with an iPhone application, that seems like a less distinct advantage for Sirius XM.
I’ve enjoyed the rare occasions when I’ve had a rental car with satellite radio, but can’t see paying a monthly fee for the service.
Apparently I’m not alone.

blogtalkradio Interview on Sharing Mayo Clinic

I had the pleasure this morning of doing an interview with John C. Havens on BlogTalk Radio, on his Transparency program. It was live Web radio, but with the segment now posted here. We talked at length about some of the stories on Sharing Mayo Clinic, which launched a week ago yesterday.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think!