Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Social Media and Core Values

Updated 8:20p: Jeff Jarvis' blog BuzzMachine went down earlier today and our links to his site are no longer working. We will try to fix that. In the meantime, you can read the Jarvis blog that inspired this post by going to and scrolling down to the July 13 posting "A Cure for Curmudgeons."

Jeff Jarvis is one of the leading proponents of social media. He is widely read and influential. That's why the values he brings to his postings matter. They are defining the Core Values for many of those who will follow the path he is blazing.

I picked up this Jeff Jarvis posting via The post revolves around a familiar theme -- social media is the future, traditional journalism is dead -- but it says even more about Core Values and opportunities for public radio.

You really should read the posting and subsequent comments for yourself. It reads much like a commercial radio talk show host sounds. Many of the commercial talk techniques are present. Issues are presented in divisive terms. People who strongly disagree with the position of the "host" are dismissed through mockery. The "cause" is presented as a "war" complete with a campaign to discredit and marginalize others. There is heavy self-promotion.

Not exactly the values public radio aspires to. And that's okay.

Public radio hasn't cornered the market on Core Values. Public radio values serve public radio audiences well. Different audiences respond to different Core Values.

This is the crux of the social media/traditional journalism conflict. The issue is positioned as "either/or" but a fragmented marketplace dictates "both/and." There will be a market for traditional journalism, there will be a market for social media, and there will be markets for hybrids of the two.

Ultimately, those markets will not be defined by the media platforms or academic definitions of journalism. They will be defined by the values and interests shared by content creators and audiences.

The opportunity for public radio is to learn everything we can about using social media tools from the Jeff Jarvis' of the world. Ensuring that public radio's Core Values translate to social media isn't Jeff Jarvis' job, which is probably a good thing. That responsibility still rests with public radio's leadership and content creators.

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Blogger Todd Mundt said...

Excellent post, John. If we stick to our values, they'll help us find a way to connect to our audience on new platforms, using new tools.

9:12 PM  

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