I was interviewed for a BBC documentary on global citizen journalism (Web page link here and audio link here). I talked about some of the implications for corporations. The two sound bytes the reporter (Ed Butler) included were:
1) a single person can easily and quickly spark a corporate communications crisis, i.e., the Kryptonite bike lock case, and…
2) consumer-generated media are great for people the world over, because corporations are held more accountable than ever before, and no longer can corporations market products that suck, People will document and share the evidence and their experiences over the Internet.
I wish I could play our entire interview…we talked about other things like:
1) The rise of citizen journalism actually equates to a world that is constantly metered by bystanders…not just selective reporting, but actual documentary evidence of EVERYTHING.
2) The ability of passionate online enthusiasts to disrupt the existing methods of information/media dispersion and marketing – even across oceans and boarders. I cited the phenomenon of European television enthusiasts previewing U.S. television programming via BitTorrent and influencing broader audience receptivity and popularity (via blogs and online reviews), even before those programs are imported into Europe.
3) While human expression is driving the creation of citizen journalism, there are several factors driving the demand to consume and interact with it: a) media fragmentation, b) erosion of trust in traditional institutional information sources, and c) the rise of digital social media and powerful search capabilities. With that, I point – yes, AGAIN – to that GFK NOP study (slide 4 from Ed Keller’s 2005 WOMMA presentation): when asked what represents among the best sources of ideas and information about new products, 92 percent of U.S. consumers said word of mouth in 2005, compared to only 67 percent in 1977. This is a U.S.-centric tracking study, but I’m sure the trend follows a similar pattern in other modern/Westernized countries and territories.
Increasingly, we look to one another for questions, answers and guidance. Our culture is increasingly being characterized by advice givers and advice seekers, not institution to person, but person to person.