You Are the New Media

by Ryon Harms on June 14, 2009


It’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of new social media technologies like Twitter, Blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Squidoo or whatever the service dujour. However, from time to time it’s good to take a step back to fully understand how everyday people are using these tools to redefine and sometimes replace cultural institutions we once took for granted.

For example, social technology is obliterating old assumptions about who creates media and who consumes it. It turns out we didn’t necessarily want or need journalists, editors, publishers, producers or media conglomerates to create and filter content for us–they just happen to have the capital required to distribute it in a meaningful way.

Today, social tools are eliminating that bottleneck with free distribution channels on a previously unimaginable scale. They’re also blurring the lines between the “professional” and everybody else. I think the downsides are obvious for some, but the opportunities for the rest of us are truly remarkable.

During my presentations I challenge executives to see themselves as the writer, editor, publisher and printer of what I like to call “The You Chronicle.” It’s about seeing social media technologies as distribution channels to promote your ideas and to do the same for others that share similar objectives.

That means you don’t need Welch’s book deal or Trump’s reality show to create a massive audience for your business ideas. Today, we can bypass traditional gatekeepers and have the opportunity to create and consume information as we see fit.

As always, with great freedom comes great responsibility. And while taking the initiative to understand social media may differentiate you today, tomorrow you will be judged by your ability to maximize the opportunities they present.

Ready or not, you are the new media. How will you deliver?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeffrey Pedone June 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm

While I agree with the thrust of this post, I would challenge the assumption that all executives should see themselves as writers etc… Basically, everyone can't do this well. Anyone can attempt to be a great writer etc…, but it takes more than this to actually succeed. Nuance, branding, story telling, marketing, and the new public relations are not easy tasks to master. I would still suggest consulting with those who have made a career out of these endeavors for a pulse check, advice, and some constructive criticism. –


newschool September 29, 2009 at 1:30 pm

People also used to look to journalists, editors, and experts of various sorts to provide tidbits of knowledge in the content they provided; these were the people who spent much of their lives accumulating knowledge in their specific fields.

But I agree that we don’t want or need these folks. We are liberating ourselves from the views of the experts. Knowledge is not just passe; it interferes with the freedom to create a powerful blog, post, or comment. Facts are fetters.

Now, let’s go out and change the world!


Ryon Harms October 3, 2009 at 9:11 am

Thanks, John. I wholeheartedly agree. It’s been fascinating to watch how we as a society have so quickly changed behaviors. I think there will always be a place for “professional” journalism, but that role is diminishing in influence almost daily.


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