Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why Every Digital Media Company Needs Me...Or Someone Like Me

By Mary Meehan
I'm the one who enjoyed Magic Mike

I am middle-aged white woman, from rural state but every digital media company needs me or someone like me.

Just a couple of housekeeping things. First, I can talk the language: The analytics on my Twitter show a trending 41 percent increase week over week due primarily actual engagement but there is the potential that spamming bots are pushing the diagnostics, but, no, I can't share actual raw numbers because that information is proprietary.

Second, I want to engage fully in the a digital age although to be honest, I'm still on the fence about Snap Chat, mostly because my friends don't Snap back. I'm also not sure SnapChat or stories via instant messaging bots with artificial intelligence are going to save journalism but, what the heck, I'm willing to give it a try.

And while I know the visual with the gray hair could be a troublesome let's just say I paid a salon to it since that is in fact now a thing. Here is an article from Buzzfeed, a place that if they had someone like me would have come up with something better than  #GrannyHairForever.

I'm your audience. I know you long for someone sleeker and younger -- who wouldn't? -- but Facebook ate the world because people like me can figure out how to use it.Yes, that means there are too many pictures of dogs on couches but there is something to be said for having a member of your actual end game audience on your team because, as of today, you still have to reach that market to have a real stake in the mass media world.

Everything new is familiar. SnapChat is a new technology but a familiar idea. We called it chunky bits. It was an alternative story form in vogue way back in the last century. It takes practice to get good at it. I am good at it. In fact, I'm very good at storytelling and, no matter how you package it, that's what we are trying to do

Ethan Zuckerman, head of MITs Civic Media Lab, tells a story about how relieved MIT parents are that they kids finally find "their people". Brilliant people, he says, who are nearly all on the Autism  Spectrum who can also find the regular world often confounding. I am gregarious and funny and prone to random acts of hugging. Sure at first you might find me terrifying, but I am also empathetic, smart and a thoughtful listener overall a necessary barometer of how humans outside of  a tech or media bubble understand the world

Full tilt is fine but there's a line. So, Dear Vice, I'm sorry I told one of your fearless leaders that his video about riots in Brazil felt like he was trying to make war seem fun. I should have also said I was concerned because his infantile fantasy of war may actually be a reaction to the trauma of the actual death, blood and chaos that comes with real war. So as a member of your team, I'd remind you that the best journalist have an instinct to go hard all the time but a responsible employer helps them look out for own their best interest, (Wait, all media companies need to do that and often don't) Plus, you can make a video where war looks like fun but someone in the room should be asking if you should.

I get the fundamentals. The head of BBC recently talked about how in the tangle of platforms and efforts to blanket the digital world with a story about a red door , The whole frantic and impressive crew forgot to get a picture of the red door. It's ironic that some folks are now saying get it out and fix it later but we all know that once something gets out on the wide world of web you can't really take it back. So if the idea of taking a few minutes to double check something is old school journalism, I'm old school because in a digital age getting it right the first time matters more than ever.

***Why 5? Three is too few. Six just seems awkward. Ten seems like bragging.

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