Saturday, May 29, 2010

Advertizing Will Shrink And Grow Feathers

Is it such a bad thing that newspapers are dying? First, the world of newspapers could never have permitted the evolution of a market niche like John Gruber's or Nate Silver's; neither of these terrific, deeply specific journalists could have made a dime or seen a word in print in the pre-Internet era. Secondly, newspapers aren't really dying; this is the histrionic shriek of the privileged when forced to reckon with the requirements of a world that no longer spoils them. Did the dinosaurs ever really go extinct? Of course not. They shrank, they grew feathers, and they proliferated. Not only are the dinosaurs still alive, but many of them have learned to speak English.

via flickr

Newspapers are not dying. Newspapers are shrinking. They shrink because their form has not enough to do with their function; they derived their income from classified ads, and Craigslist destroyed their business. But Craigslist didn't destroy their business by being better at tying classified advertizing to journalism; Craigslist destroyed their business because there was no logical, necessary connection between classified ads and journalism in the first place. Classified ads went in the paper because everybody read the paper. Circumstances of social organization ("everybody reads the paper") created an artificial relationship, which was doomed to disintegrate.

Advertizing has the same problem.

from wondermark

In an alternate universe with no Internet, we still have Keyboard Cat. He just sells cereal for Kellogg. Irreverent, foolish, short-form video dominated American culture for decades before YouTube came along. Corporations subsidized it, due to circumstances of social organization ("everybody watches The Honeymooners") which no longer hold true. This shit will change.

If you want to know how, I'm doing some experiments, and you can get a rough, raw, comprehensive and honest overview of these experiments in my video Internet Marketing For Alpha Geeks.