I want to tell a new media story for you. Do you have a minute or two?
On June 3rd (my Dad’s birthday, by the way), I presented in front of people at BarCamp Boston. I made a presentation called “Content Networks are the New Blogs.” It was based on this post. The shorthand is this: blogs are dead- GROUP blogs, GROUP projects, COMMUNITY-building media is the key.
I believe this with all my heart, and I believe this is the time for such events. I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that NOW, today, this very second, it’s no longer good enough to keep your standalone blog. You must throw in with the people around you who do similar things. You must build value. You must deliver something consistent, useful, powerful, that will reach the audience who likes your stuff, in such a way that it engages you.
This is NOT about RSS. This is NOT about user-generated content (delightful, but too random). It’s NOT about recreating the old structures and finding employees and building Rupert’s empire all over again. Similarly, it’s NOT about hippies and kum baya.
It’s about a new media business.
Grasshopper New Media
I’m doing this the way I do everything: rapid prototyping, not letting things like “all the answers” get in the way of a plan, reaching out to the people who matter to me for help, insight, advice, participation. I’m going after this full throttle. Near as I can tell, this idea sums up everything I’ve been putting together over the last several months into one neat package.
Grasshopper New Media shares stories. We’re not the television station; we’re the programming. We’re the stuff you see and hear, not the people who bring it to you. And we’re all about giving voice to those people who don’t always get heard or seen.
Want less flowers? We create podcasts, video podcasts, blogs and vlogs.
“Isn’t that what you’re doing now?”
Sure. Me. I’m doing it. You’re doing it. There are more blogs than humans. Hell, I’ve got a zillion. I write for a zillion more.
Many voices makes it easier to be heard. A chorus will always trump a solo singer, even if her voice is far better than any individual voice in that chorus. I believe it’s time to stand up and build a chorus. Sing deep from within, because this time is unique. (As was 1997. As was 1967. As was lots of times, and more to come.)
How you can participate
I’m working on that. The idea started around my super-secret mom project. I started tentatively reaching out, seeing how others could help what’s normally a standalone project. I think there are ways to get involved, ways to make your voice amplify, ways for those who don’t like standing up on stage to work the makeup and mixing boards, and participate in the school play.
There’s no money yet. I’m not offering people cash. Hell, I’m paying my way and buying up stuff to make this thing happen. When there’s money to be had, we’ll find a way to be reasonable and cool about it. I say “when.”
In the short term, here’s my idea:
Let’s start with blogs. Some of you are here to read about self-improvement. Others are my friendly Lifehack converts, adding to their weekly sampling of Chris Brogan by reading this site. Still more are just like-minded individuals who have their own blogs, doing their own thing.
I want to start a blog for a bunch of us. A content network blog. I want participants who are:
*storytellers in their own right.
I think the topic is something around improving one’s life. If you’re signing on, you have a say in what YOU think the topic should be. Remember, it has to be group-friendly, and sustainable. Writing about OSX will only last so long. Blogging about Britney won’t last either. That’s why I recommend something about Self-Improvement or hacking life, etc.
This is not a democracy all the way, though. There’s editors helping shape the voice. It’s not Digg. It’s not del.icio.us. You’re contributing by writing consistent work that fits with the rest of the bunch. You’re writing the same way you do for your own blog, only you’re working to fit the goals, the style, and the intent of the new site.
That’s one project.
Joining Grasshopper New Media
My related project is to at least be able to point people to stuff that fits well with what we’re doing. If you’re not at all interested in the group blogging concept, but you still have a voice that fits well with what we’re doing, perhaps you’d consider being part of Grasshopper New Media by way of affiliation. This merely means throwing a link back to the mothership on your site (graphics coming), and adding your voice to the conversation.
At the heart of that idea is wanting people to be able to find the shared narrative, the many voices out there saying things that are interesting to them. Maybe you’ll stay on your stand-along blog for a really long time, but my hope is that you’ll consider coming to the group at some point.
Oh, and I want this to be international. I’m anxious to see Grasshoppers in Singapore, in Wales, in South Africa. Let’s do something to turn the new media space into a global event, and not so heavily focused on one country. Let’s focus on making things relevent to “Citizens of the internet.”
You know what else a great site needs?
- Tip feeders. People who read lots of weird sources and share what they’re thinking.
- Editors. People to read this stuff, find typos or sentences that don’t work, and report back, so authors can fix them.
- Evangelists. People to push links towards these projects, to get us seen by your friends and associates.
- Supporters. People who see where this is going and want to participate in some way, maybe not yet defined.
- Developers. People to create good concepts that might make for good new channels.
- Talent. We will forever be in the talent business.
I’m spilling this all out on you because I can’t hold it all in. My head will explode. I’ve got the plan and it’s rolling forward, and I’m looking for folks to sign on in some capacity. If you’re a blogger and want to blog with me, great. If you’re a podcaster, and you want to develop shows with me, wow! If you’re doing video work, I’m anxious to get you involved. Editors, readers, talented passionate people. I want you all.
We want to bring this voice forward, in all its new media forms. And we want to be heard. Let’s see if we can’t make it really interesting in the process, and fun.
After all, we’re grasshoppers.
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