The rapid maturing of blog-culture is radically changing the way media is being delivered to people in the hi-tech, services and outsourcing industry. Suddenly, opinionated experts (I do use this term lightly) have access to the industry which they never had previously. Long-gone are the days where they needed regular columns in trade magazines to get their views across, or a press quote that could be used out of context. Why wait a month to get your latest opinions to the world when you can get them out in minutes?
The lower-tier trade publications are getting a hammering. Why go to some of the traditional trade magazines and websites, when there are a plethora of blogs out there with up-to-date news, and great debate - and from people who generally know their stuff. What's more, YOU get to be part of that debate and YOU can decide whether these blogs are worth reading. The threatened media firms argue that blogs are de-regulated and provide unsubstantiated information, however, most journalists are experts at placing their own spin on stories to get attention, and often provide us with unfounded opinions and views for the sole purpose of carving out their piece of the airspace. Even on this blog, for example, we've had opportunities to pick out inaccurate media stories and try and add a dose of realism to the world, which otherwise would have left people with serious misinformation. Not all bloggers have the polish of journalists, but they can get their point across just the same.
Most of the top-tier media brands get this and offer bloggability on their websites. I predict the top media brands, such as Forbes, ZDNet, Businessweek, Wall Street Journal and Investors' Business Daily, will continue to embrace the media of blogging and continue to be successful. However, the choice of websites to visit to get the latest scoop on industry events, technologies, deals, mergers, or even general opinionated banter has ripped the media industry apart over the last couple of years - and this is escalating. Some media firms are building stables of their own bloggers to combat the threat and deliver their own blogging-style media, but are often restricted to people who tend to be independent and not work for large organizations.
What's more, some of my friends who are now pro-bloggers would never have become journalists, however, blogging has provided them with a medium to deliver their insight to industry in their own conversational style. Several of them even make a living doing this... vendors - and even some trade press - are sponsoring their blogs if influencers, clients and prospects go there. The trade-press now competes with these individuals, many of whom are delivering regular content at no cost. In the past, many bloggers would have provided the trade-press with their insight, but they now prefer to preach from their own, personalized pulpit. What blogging provides is a medium for experts, analysts, academics, consultants, marketeers and practitioners to convey their views of the industry, so we don't solely rely on journalists for information, whose media firms are dominated by the whims of their advertisers and parent organizations.
All-in-all blogging has completely changed the media game in our industry. Whereas mainstay publications believed it was their right to own the delivery of information, they are quickly getting a nasty shock that they are no longer the prime vehicle for delivering news and content to their industry. Just visit Google finance and check out Microsoft - as an example. Scroll down the page and you'll see the latest blog posts on the firm. While the trade press still cling on to delivering the news, the bloggers are delivering most of the color commentary...