Monetizing Web “2.0,” Part 3

May 15, 2007

Writing the last post was an epiphany for me, in that realizing the current mode of advertising in traditional media is akin to totalitarianism, whereas social media has put power in the hands of the people through consumer-generated content. Thus, a true revolution of advertising within the context of Web 2.0 should be a categorical re-evolution, rather than an impetuous modification of current strategies (we are not witnessing new channels of media, it is a new type of media). In this post I would like to share the links that led me to this train of thought.

It was a dark and stormy night… wait, wrong blog…

Okay, it all started with a story from the Washington Post about “Putting the I in Advertising.” Here’s a part that really stuck out:

“Grant McCracken, a cultural anthropologist affiliated with MIT, says participatory advertising represents a ‘revolution’ in thinking. It means marketers are actually ‘inviting’ consumers ‘into the production of meaning,’ he says.”

We all know the story, that letting consumers have control over the content has advertisers and marketers running scared, but for some reason these two sentences struck the right chord. AdWeek published a fairly similar article, but quoted Roger Faxon, a chief executive at EMI Music Publishing, as saying,

‘Music companies will function more as facilitators for bringing music and the rights that support them to the marketplace, as opposed to being originators of the content itself.'”

This may very well apply to marketing: we work just as facilitators of content, not as creators of it. An example of this (an especially radical one at that)? The revolt of Digg users over postings of links that showed the new copyright encryption key for HD-DVD’s. At first the site administrators removed the posts; after a large push by users, the site administrators relented, even at the risk of their own (legal) peril. With these things in mind my research finally led me across a seminal treatment of the point I am trying to get it across (doesn’t someone always say it before you?!): an article by Bob Garfield titled “Chaos Scenario 2.0.” I highly suggest you read it instead of me paraphrasing it for you. After you’re done reading, I would like to note that I don’t believe in such a doom-and-gloom scenario as far as traditional media and advertising. Here’s why:

  • Not all consumers use the internet
  • Not all internet users participate in social media
  • Not all internet users who participate in social media spend time on a site relevant to your product

Anyways, I felt it necessary to sketch some boundaries before we continue to move forward. In the next entry I hope to finally get around to new advertising and its (possible) relation to adventure education; I promise I will not become like the TV show Lost and start leading you on to tune in for the next episode where only the last thirty seconds were worth your time.

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