I’m irked; I failed my driving test yesterday. So instead of optimising this post for search, it’s going to be optimised for vitriol. So expect to see four letter words aplenty, along with a picture of the examiner who failed me in a Soho brothel wearing nothing but a garter and creepy grin.
Well maybe not the last bit.
As a PR person, as it should be with any self-respecting PR person; WikiLeaks has been on my mind recently. Along with being started by probably the only known human being to bear a surname that rhymes with ‘blancmange‘, the whistle blowing site has provided the impetus for, and caused a profound, perceptional shift in the way society views governments. And more significantly; it’s forcing an operational change in governments: secrecy to transparency.
Annnnd even more significantly than that; WikiLeaks is giving freedom, access and power to the everyman.
But people are granted this freedom, access and power by the media. I’d say most people get access to, and consume WikiLeaks, through the media, as opposed to logging on to the site itself.
The cables are pretty damming in isolation, but it’s the journalistic treatment; looking at them in context, that provides the broader story and the stimulus for rebellion. I’m a believer of the media control theory and all that- old school innit.
WikiLeaks has highlighted how we get ‘information’, ‘stories’ and their relevant contexts; in this ‘digital age’ these things can be accessed instantaneously and effortlessly. It shows how through the internet; specifically digital networks and news outlets, content can spread virally and events can be followed almost ‘as they happen’. Personally, I love consuming news this way; there’s something satisfying about hearing stories first on Twitter or through RSS.
Even more satisfying is realtime consumption; instantaneity is more immersive and vicarious. For example during a recent boxing match, I followed the official PPV Twitter hashtag, and gained all sorts of insight into pre-fight scandal, well before any journo could get their grubby mits on it.
So how can mainstream media respond to WikiLeaks, and can it compete with rapidity of news spreading through social networks?
Yep, it sure can- buy applying the same principles and models as many of the ‘social networks’.
Dramatic, on-going events like the recent unrest (that almost seems euphemised doesn’t it) in Eygpt and Libya suit ‘live content’-no delays, just published news and events as it happens.
‘But media outlets have been doing this for years’ I hear you cry. Well, yes they have, but the content hasn’t really been varied; no video, no varying ‘coal-face’ perspectives, no imagery; nothing comprehensive enough to provide an immersive experience.
However, I’ve seen a couple of outlets ‘getting it’. Reuters does it through ‘Scribble Live‘. Check it out, it’s a pretty sick live blogging service that allows anyone to publish content instantly, all aggregated under one stream.
I’m thinking of using it for an upcoming campaign, which I’m pretty excited about. Although not as excited as I would’ve been about evidencing driving examiner scandal.