Wrapping up this first week of the blog, the news today is filled with LeBron James, Lady Gaga and Lindsey Lohan. It’s puzzling to try to figure out the fascination with these characters. At one time, these stories were relegated to the grocery store tabloids, gossip columns and television shows. Today the gossip news rules the media roost. The most serious of journalists are including gossip in their news … and, honestly, I just don’t get it. The explanation that’s offered: It’s what the public wants. Really?
As a self-professed “news hound,” I find this all very hard to swallow. I think about the journalists and columnists whose work influenced me along the way — Cronkite. Royko. Huntley. Brinkley. My beloved Tom Brokaw. I cannot imagine them doing anything as UNjournalistic as the gossip-laden news we have today. Unfortunately, the networks and major newspapers are no longer driven by the foundations of the Fourth Estate; they are the products, literally, of corporations with the express purpose of driving revenue. And “gossip news” is cheap to produce and deliver.
I’d like to think that our economic state would prompt Americans to rethink their priorities and take some time for introspection about such things. Then again, I’m certain in light of such depressing times, people are inclined to seek out “lighter fare.” But maybe people ARE seeking out other sources for their news in search of something more “real.” The Internet has become a prime source for news, and social media is growing at a rapid, amazing pace. None of this delivered by the objective reporters of yesteryear, which poses a whole other set of concerns. I would LOVE to hear YOUR thoughts on this? How do we protect those now tenuous foundations on which our country was founded? Or must we just sit back and watch it happen?
Speaking of social media …
An interesting piece from our friends at WOMMA — the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. For years, marketers have known word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective advertising is word of mouth marketing. The smartest marketers know word of mouth works best when it’s credible.
Unfortunately, trust is on the decline. The percentage of people who view their friends as credible sources of information about a brand has fallen from 45% in 2008 to 25% in 2010, according to Edelman’s 2010 Trust Barometer study.
That’s an alarming statistic for marketers wanting to tap into the power of word of mouth through social media marketing. Check out these guidelines for harnessing the strengths of social media WHILE REMAINING ETHICAL. (Not an oxymoron, folks … it IS possible.)
And on that note, I wish you all a good weekend. I’m off to my first potential-client meeting. One week. One client. So far, so good.