Thinking About The Newsstand of The Future

Following along with some more PodCamp Toronto discussion that happened this past weekend (most of it at the party sponsored by Molson), a lot of the content at the sessions that happened tended to lean on what might make an important topic at other unconference to come.

The problem of perception.

News Stand

So much of the session topics at PodCamp Toronto were looking at issues from a certain perspective and how applying social media best practices is the natural next step in solving the problem. One thing that maybe should have been talked about a bit more is the idea that social media really isn’t able to solve our problems if we are looking at problems from the wrong angle in the first place.

If we take into consideration some things brought up by the sessions such as: The idea of structured social media, social media experts, making old media more social, or pointing out the problems with old-school analytics… What every session hinted to, I think, is that before we go on a social media evangelism campaign, we should maybe rethink fundamental ideas or beliefs that we have about these problems.  That way we’ll have hopefully redefined our problem in a way that social media can do anything about.

One idea that I chatted about with Saleem Khan was his idea that journalism might not be able to function in society as a for-profit business anymore. It used to be able to, but maybe not anymore. Maybe we need to take another look at the whole idea of newspapers. One thought I brought up to Saleem was what if instead of thinking of newspapers and journalism as old media, let’s just go all the way and right now call it a social media.

Reframing the problem like this might be the key to getting insights into how newspapers and other ideas can, or need to transform to survive.

Let’s not use all these new tools as nails to hammer into old models and ways of thinking.

Being able to reframe these problems is going to be the key to finding creative solutions for them. Lets look at the problem from a different perspective, and even trying to solve them indirectly.  For instance…

Assuming they are still around… What will the news stand of the future look like if we all use ebooks? (Ah, now you see the point of the title!)

Or if we though of journalists as the equivalent of open source programmers… How will journalists and news papers survive if the product is free?

I look forward to an interesting discussion in the comments.

Image by said&done via Flickr

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