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The 21st Century In 20th Century Terms

I’ve recently been a bit obsessed by the book Socialnomics (affiliate link). Lynn Terry introduced it to me last time we recorded Internet Marketing This Week and, wow, very very cool stuff. I can’t recommend it enough. I’m changing some things around here based on the simple truths contained within – and I’ll be you do the same if you pick it up. P.s., there is something very right about reading this one on your Kindle.

(BTW – @Equalman (the author) has agreed to come on a taping of the show soon and I promise to update you when he does.)

One of the big themes in the book is the fact that social media is changing “the way we live and do business.

Paul, that’s a bit extreme

If Twitter and Facebook were just some program, I’d agree. They’re not programs, they’re, for lack of a better term, operating systems, that let us do things we were never able to do before. It’s not what Twitter or Facebook does – it’s what we do with Twitter or Facebook that really matter.

Let’s look at some examples of this in history … the Web changed the very way we consumed content on the computer (it was never about the browser), email changed the way we communicated with each other (it was never about Outlook or Eudora), the cell phone changed the way people got a hold of us (it was never about the device that made it possible), and the list goes on (feel free to add some examples below) …

The last time I flew cross-country I was watching CNN on the plane for the 4 hours I was in the air. The big story of the moment was that Twitter was down. Yup, we’re at war, the economy is in some very sticky places, banks are failing and the big story of the day was … Twitter was down.

The skeptic watching the story would note that Twitter isn’t even in the top ten websites (at the time I write this, Alexa rates her at number 15).

It’s not about the site. It’s never been about the site.

Twitter “happens” via web, via sms, via desktop, via cell phone, via assistant, via email, via gaming console and more. Twitter is more than just a program. Her being down was at least as newsworthy as anything else CNN had to offer.

When I made my Facebook changes earlier this year, I never thought I’d enjoy the results the way I have been. What I thought was just a simple house-cleaning project has let me communicate better not just with my audience, but with my friends and family as well. How do I use Facebook? I Facebook via web, via sms, via desktop, via cell phone, via assistant, via email, via gaming console and more. Facebook is more than just a program – it’s a communications platform for me.

The people who “get” Twitter and Facebook are the ones who realize they are “more than just a program.”

This, of course, made me wonder if there are other examples of terms limiting the impact of the technologies we’re embracing like crazy. I came up with a few …

Podcasting is so much more than a program made by Apple – but to this day, my Mom still thinks she can’t consume Podcasts because her and Dad don’t have an Apple.

8 out of every 9 people who read content don’t read it at – yet most people think of a Blog as a really easy means to put content online – not an engine to syndicate your content to an exponentially bigger audience. I’ve got EXACTLY the platform I want in my Blog – it hasn’t never been about not having to do HTML.

Despite the reality that the iPhone is an amazing device, it has changed the cell phone and applications industry forever and that will impact the future of content delivery 100 fold compared to how it has changed the device we use to talk to Mom on.

Coming a little closer to home, I’m about ready to strangle the next person who limits our Premiumcast engine to be nothing more than “a way to charge for Podcasts” or says “video is better than audio” without examining audience and delivery.

I think this issue is a simple one: we’re trying to come to terms with the 21st century in terms we coined when gas passing a buck a gallon was “too much” and the Russians were the bad guys secretly hoping to kill us all. It’s akin to trying to describe the Star Wars films in Egyptian hieroglyphics or attempting to mime the social ramifications of Paris Hilton.

We need to start developing 21st century terms for these important issues.

Any idea how to start?

Or am I nuts?

Oprah Doesn’t Need CBS – Do You?

CBS is scared. They heard the rumor (I’m sure you did too) that Oprah might be moving from them to her “OWN” network (perfect name) and, well, the offers should get really interesting.

Sit back for a second and move past the inevitable bidding war that is about to happen. Ponder this simple fact:

Oprah doesn’t need CBS anymore.

A few days ago I wanted to catch the online replay of “V.” I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember (or care) what network it was on. A flagship major play during sweeps month for a network and I couldn’t associate one with the other. Is ABC the winner, or is “V?” I think we know the answer. Yes, I had to look up the association to write this piece.

And, of course, with Hulu, 3 of the 4 networks are there so I jumped over and found my fix. You know my feelings on the future of that little site but while she lasts, I’ll continue to enjoy the ride. At this point, Hulu matters more than ABC, NBC, or FOX.

If you took the top 20 new media entities on the planet and offered them a gig at a “real” media company, I predict, sadly, that 18 of them would take the job. Now at the pay some of them are getting I understand the initial reaction, but the facts are simple: they don’t need “real” media to get somewhere.

You don’t need CBS either.

Based on the recommendation of Lynn Terry during last week’s Internet Marketing This Week, I picked up Socialnomics (affiliate link) on my Kindle (amazing book, review to come). In the book, @equalman examines the social media efforts of a number of huge brands: Coke, Jet Blue, ESPN, CC Chapman, etc.

CC Chapman – a “huge” brand?

He gets equal play in the book.

He deserves equal play in the book.

He’s as important to the story as is ESPN.

He is the (new) media.

So are you.

The shows and people and characters I love in this space can all be found with this little site called “Google.” Heck, most of them can even be found on another site called “Bing.” I don’t need an aggregator or network or commercial series to remind me that Cali Lewis is going to keep me up to date with geek news or that Chris Brogan might have something interesting to say. They’re bookmarked, I follow them in my reader, and if for any reason a site went down or a feed died (“or they jumped to another network”) it wouldn’t be hard at all to figure out where they went.

If Oprah leaves CBS (please do, Oprah), she has this little billboard in every stinking grocery store called “O Magazine” that would make it very easy to tell others where she went. Oh yeah, I bet you Google (and possibly even Bing) might serve the purpose as well. Oprah is the story, not CBS.

You are the story.

You are the media.

Oprah doesn’t need CBS.

Neither do you.

So what Paul?

Yeah, but Paul, I’m not Oprah!

Neither am I.

Neither is CC Chapman.

Neither are the other 4 point whatever billion people on the planet.

We are in an exciting new era where the good stuff rises to the top, without the need for a network to promote it. That’s why I love this space so much – and I hope why you read this blog.

You spend your time on creating content that rises to the top and, one day soon, you’ll be able to turn down CBS’s offer.

Just like Oprah.