Engaging Culture

Today’s Open Media World

I originally posted this a couple of years ago, but it’s worth re-visiting.  Whenever you have difficulty convincing your boss, team, donors, or customers on how the “digital revolution” is fundamentally transforming our lives, this is a good scale.  I call it the “open media world” versus the past “closed media world.”  Here’s the difference in the closed media world of the past, and the open media world of the future:

·      Closed:  TV was the hub of marketing and advertising campaigns

·      Open:  TV has become TIVO – we skip commercials

·      Closed:  Programmers controlled the message

·      Open:  The audience influences the message

·      Closed:  Consumers bought what marketers promoted

·      Open:  Consumers buy what their friends endorse

·      Closed:  Youtube and Facebook were fads

·      Open: This generation loves Youtube because it’s content is as good as traditional advertising

·      Closed:  Mobile phones were for making calls

·      Open:  Mobile phones are now the single most important gadget in people’s lives

·      Closed:  Bloggers were a little nutty

·      Open: Bloggers are the new influencers and truth tellers.  They even cost a national network news anchor his job

·      Closed:  A church controlled it’s membership

·      Open:  “Church membership” will undergo a massive rethink

·      Closed:  A ministry or non-profit decided how to talk to its donors

·      Open:  Donors decide how to talk to organizations

·      Closed:  The audience watched or listened to what you wanted them to see or hear

·      Open: The audience is in charge

·      Closed: Political power was the method of choice for impacting culture

·      Open:  Cultural engagement is the way to impact the culture

·      Closed:  Famous pastors and evangelists were celebrities

·      Open:  Personality driven ministry will decrease

·      Closed:  Christian leaders could control information

·      Open:  In the digital age, information can’t be controlled

·      Closed:  Every Christian programmer wants to be on a major Christian radio or TV network

·      Open: With IPTV, social networking, podcasting, mobile programming and more, the traditional networks will continue to exist, but won’t be the nexus of power and influence – or the only key to reaching your audience.

Think of a world that’s experiencing a two-way conversation instead of the traditional one-way model.   The next generation wants to communicate, and are using media that’s “always on.”  After all, they grew up picking the next “American Idol” by texting into a cell phone.  They want a voice and they want it now.  And it will impact everything from media, to how they view worship.

How is this new media world impacting your job, your work, and your career?


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  1. Good post Phil!

    I remember Martin Luther King Jr speaking about the way to change politics is to change the culture way back before twitter and facebook.

    A revolutionary indeed. 😉

  2. Phil, you’ve summed up well the sea change that is occurring. Some still don’t get it. Major League Baseball is an example of this in its stance on instant replay. They mistakenly think technology is just an additional option in our lives, instead of understanding that it’s empowered consumers and changed the relationship of organizations to their publics in ways you’ve described. GenY gets this because it is part of their DNA. The rest of us must adopt it.

    BTW, you and I worked together in London 20 years ago for the Mission World crusade for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. It’s great to see what you’ve accomplished since those all-nighters in the edit bays.

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