I attended a lecture given by Bob Garfield of On The Media on December 8 at WNYC's Greenspace. The lecture was a platform for Mr. Garfield's book, The Chaos Scenario. The Chaos Secanario describes the end of advertising, news, entertainment and marketing as we know it.
The lecture provided lots of frightening statistics, some great anecdotal evidence. Bob Garfield is an entertaining and informative speaker. I'm a huge fan of On The Media's radio show so much of presentation for me consisted of details around concepts to which I was already was familiar.
It was some questions from the audience that really challenged me.
One audience member asked why should we care if the News, Advertising and Entertainment industries collapse? If you don't work in the effected industries, is their demise really going to effect us?
THE MISSING PIECE
Relevancy. It's hard to illustrate what we're missing (and what we're going to miss), when we're "getting" so much more now.
But are we? We're drinking from the firehose, people and it's bowling us over. Without credibility, criticism and curating, it's impossible to navigate relevant, interesting, and valuable content. So while we may now have vast choices in media, are we really better off?
Another audience member felt they were better off, they had more information than they ever had - think Tweets from the Iranian election in June and recommendations of books via friends on Facebook or videos of charming kittens on YouTube. And that's all true. We never had those outlets before. They allow The People to speak out publicly and account for a huge rise in citizen journalism. But how long can that last?
HERE'S THE RUB:
Not one of those companies that we have come to rely on has a workable business model.
Seriously. One of the stats I heard in the Bob Garfield lecture was that YouTube was on track to lose close to a half a billion dollars in 2009 in spite of their advertising-based model. And Twitter and Facebook have no such business model to support themselves.
So in all honesty – how long can these companies continue to run? Remember the late '90s with all those internet companies that were "post–profit"? What happened to them?
And if we as a society require these mechanisms for all our media, what happens to us?
*I totally stole my headline from .