As we near the end of 2010, there is a “must get” that we are trying to help everyone we work with understand. “Mass media” has transformed into personal media. Consumers of information and entertainment want what they’re interested in, when they want it, over the platforms (plural) they want it. It’s all about content on-demand and consumable on the device you happen to want to use at any given moment.
This phenomenon is real – it’s not about the future, it’s about now. In order to be a successful communicator, you have to “get it.” But too many still don’t and they are the ones being left in the dust as the way we communicate changes. So, it’s imperative for us to show examples of success stories that illustrate what’s happening.
I have encountered one this Holiday Season, as I have had a chance to read for pleasure, something I don’t often get a chance to do when running full-speed for Tanner Friedman and our clients. I just finished a terrific book called “Play Their Hearts Out,” by George Dohrmann, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Sports Illustrated writer. He masterfully chronicles eight years in the lives of a youth basketball team, exposing the ills and thrills of “grassroots” basketball.
But it wasn’t just a great book. Dohrmann went “the rest of the way” to give his readers what they want in the age of personal media. Because the readers spend more than 400 pages getting to know the “characters,” who are now college age, he allows readers to keep up with their real lives. On a blog and on a Twitter feed, Dohrmann posts regular updates and answers readers’ questions. Instead of just writing a traditional media book, and leaving it at that, Dohrmann uses technology and new media consumption habits to his advantage, building a relationship with his audience and providing what is essentially customer service, by keeping the compelling story going, almost in real time.
If you’ve read the book (and, if you have even a passing interest in basketball, you should), you can now get updates on the players chronicled in the book, beyond the pages of the book, as much or as little as you want, whenever you want, without having to look hard for it. That’s communicating 2011 style and, on top of whatever awards this book will receive, Dohrmann should be recognized for successfully “getting” it.