Arguments About Media

Last week I received this daily cartoon from Hugh MacLeod

Hugh MacLeod's All Media

All Media
With advancements in technology there comes a false sense of ease. One becomes comfortable with increasing amounts of media and with it the ease of operation, media sharing, marketing, etc. One can easily fall into traps formed by the general availability of anything one could want. It’s easily to get caught up in the idea that media appears from the ether seemingly by magic and that when one harnesses the power behind various influential media formats they will miraculously become the ruler of some mythical domain.

Sounds crazy, but it happens.

And there’s the catch. So, yeah, social media is cheap to set up initially, but it requires hours upon hours of constant work and maintenance—often times through efforts of entire teams of people whose entire job revolves around media. There is no “silver bullet” here, and the guy trying to sell you that idea is full of crap.

27 Minutes Later

I received this gem of an email from Seth Godin.  I especially appreciate the last line.

Buying Earned Media

The term has been around since 1988, but it’s not truly understood by many.
You can’t buy earned media.
It doesn’t arrive on schedule.
Earned media isn’t free media, because the amount of time and energy and risk you have to expend to get it is hardly free.
It’s like all the other things we earn. It is worth more precisely because you cannot simply command it to comply.

[An aside: throughout the history of advertising, ad agencies have rarely, if ever, bought ads for themselves. Worth noting that those that would seek to help you generate earned media are much better at taking their own advice.]

My Thoughts

I have had the pleasure of being on both sides of the marketing and advertising coins.  I have worked to develop it and promote it those who buy it and I have purchased it for our business.  From my personal experience, anything editorial that grabs and keeps a readers attention is exponentially more effective than any ad.  This is coming from someone who loves looking at and evaluating advertisements for effectiveness to determine if it would make me or anyone I know act upon it.

But mediums are in constant change.  My email inbox tends to be filled daily with more advertising messages and I am constantly unsubscribing for emails I can’t remember subscribing to.  And when I do read something or see it on a “news” show, sometimes it is difficult to determine what is just unbiased content and what is really advertising in a vehicle dressed a little differently.  I guess this comes with reality TV not being real.

Word of mouth continues to grow in effectiveness and the bigger the mouth, the better.  Yesterday, I received an email from the crafting store Michaels with a headline that they were on The Ellen DeGeneres Show again.

I can tell you this though, I do not understand why the advertising messages I see on the sidelines of of my Facebook areas were made for people interested in purchasing photography.  Yes, I am a photographer and I like photography but I am not interested in buying from another photographer and if I were advertising there, I wouldn’t want to be paying for my competitors to see what I am up to.

And for now, I’m not going to pay more to get my blog feeds without advertisements, as I have now trained myself not to see or be bothered with them.


I do think it is ironic that two marketing icons that I follow are verbally confronting their industry brothers and sisters who selling the smoke and mirrors to the people who want /need to sell something.

Before closing, I have to bring notice to the portion of Hugh MacLeod’s write up above that I bolded about about social media being cheap to start but expensive in time standards (and time is money) to maintain.   When I dreamed of being a photographer over a decade ago when “real” photographers worked with medium format cameras, I never thought about having to spent more time on social media than doing the art part.  Thankfully, I like it all but I do recognize there is now a tug-a-war between creating art and creating the buzz necessary for today’s bombarded consumer.  The times they are a changing which means the processes and costs are being reshuffled.



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