Why Must We Confuse Technology With Media?

The Bloggers are aflame again with the latest round of rants again Pay Per Post. While I understand the arguments against the company and their approach, someone needs to speak up and speak some sense into it all. We're just starting to sound a little silly here.

The PayPerPost issue is about disclosure. Disclosure is a good thing and many will want to use it to their advantage.

Sometimes disclosure is obvious and doesn't need to be stated. No, I don't let Google put links on my site just cause I like 'em (that “Ads By Google” text really should have tipped you off). Yes, that book I wrote, they send me what are called “royalty checks.” And by the way, in that book when I talk about Podcasts or Podcast services I'm involved with – yes, I'm going to be pretty happy with them.

Sometimes disclosure isn't obvious and therefore a smart move. I am being compensated for my time on the board of advisors for that company – but it wasn't the first offer – and I only joined because I like the product so much.

Again, the argument about PayPerPost is about disclosure – another topic all together. But a lot of people don't get that yet. Many make it an argument about the technology they choose not to disclose on. This rant is about how people confuse technology with media – and the danger it is doing.

Repeat after me … Technology Is Not Media.

Use of blog software does not make someone a blogger. It makes them someone who uses blogs.

Cali Lewis uses WordPress as a scheduling system for herself. If it works for her, great. Personally it seems like a lot more work than it needs to be – but that's just me. Should I be complaining online that she isn't using the technology for what it was “meant” to be used for – or should I be intrigued that she is using technology to make her life better?

From Information Week

Both Jarvis and Weinberger stressed that blogging is a conversation.

No it isn't. Blogging is a form of online publishing (often through a Web interface) that often utilizes RSS. There is a new media of blogs that have been empowered by the technology of blogging – but they are not exclusive of each other.

Yes, there are some exciting new media types would could haven't launched without blogs. They just saw how cool the technology was and decided to leverage it too!

Jason Calacanis used his blog to announce a free conference that is going to get him a huge chunk of change in free publicity. Was it an ad? Of course it was. Jason's brilliant at getting buzz publicity. And this is just his latest. Good for Jason.

Might this announcement cause a conversation? Of course it will. But that wasn't why he did it. He did it because he needed to let his audience know that he's launching a conference. This was blog as announcement engine because he doesn't have a mailing list.

From Blog Herald

But isn’t a blog clearly a publication, and therefore isn’t a clearly labled paid post equivalent to a host thanking a sponsor on a video/TV program or an advertorial in a magazine?

No, a blog is a software program that a publication might use.

See, the real power is what people print/publish with the blog technology … not the blog technology.

Use of Podcast technology to deliver content does not make someone a Podcaster, it makes them someone who leverages Podcast technology.

When the Queen of England's Christmas speech was delivered by Podcast, I will bet you millions that the gal didn't sit in front of a USB mic recording the thing into Audacity not worrying about levels because she could shoot it through the Levelator later. Someone she employs said “Heck, we already got this speech, let's shoot it down this pipe too!” Yes, I'm sure those were the exact words.

Is the Queen a Podcaster? Yes. Does she know she's a Podcaster? Probably not.

And guess what, it don't matter.

I helped my co-author deliver his Teleseminar Secrets Class via secure RSS. He talks into a phone – the next day it comes to a few hundred students via Podcast technology. It is a Podcast? Sure. Does it matter? No. Is he selling more tickets because he can make the promise that the class is live Monday nights via the phone or tape delayed the next morning via Podcast? Yes.

The lines blur when you confuse technology with media.

When CNN airs a clip from the President's Radio Broadcast with a picture of the President superimposed, does that suddenly make it a “Video Broadcast?” Of course not, it makes it, repeat after me, a clip from the President's Radio Broadcast with a picture of the President superimposed.

When someone uses blog technology to do something other than what the blogging masses think they should do with it, that has to be o.k.

I understand how dear technology can be to our hearts.

If someone uses technology near and dear to your heart – because of what that technology has allowed you to do – it's o.k. That doesn't make them a bad person, that just makes them different than you. There are a few billion others on this planet who are different than you as well. I'm surprised the Internet hasn't taught you that already.

If someone publishes a blog or a Podcast that doesn't match your definition – or if they use the tech to do something outside of the box … that's o.k. too.

Don't confuse the technology with the media.

It isn't that PayPerPost is using blogs to trick people. It is that PayPerPost is trying to trick people.

It isn't that disclosure should be required by law – it's that when someone has fully discloses themselves, you don't have to worry about where they are “coming from.”

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