Home > F5 Expo > F5 Expo – Part 2 – We Are The Beta Test

F5 Expo – Part 2 – We Are The Beta Test

So in the little bit of time that I had between the panels and speakers, I walked around the Idea Zoo to ask people about their opinions about the future of social media. I posed the questions of what do they think is going to happen with traditional media, and how they think that social media is affecting society’s interpersonal skills. I talked to a variety of people, from members of the media community, to individuals not really involved with social media.

Kris Krug @ F5 Expo

The highlight of these discussions was with Kris Krug (@kk). I actually got in touch with Kris the night before the expo when I simply tweeted that I was going to be covering the event. Kris replied and asked me what I was covering and offered to do an interview with me. I managed to find Kris when he wasn’t busy during the expo and was able to sit down with him and just ask him a few questions. Here’s a transcript of the interview. I’ve edited it slightly for ease of reading,

HJ: So I’m here with Kris Krug, @kk on Twitter, coming by to talk about a few things about social media. When I was tweeting with you last night, you were talking about how social media is the future of all media, so what do you think about magazines, newspapers, and traditional radio. Do you think that they’re going to fall by the wayside? Or do you think that they’re still going to fill a smaller niche in the background?

KK: I think that in general, business models that rely on a scarcity or a control of information are going to fail. So, right now, I got some newspaper. You pay for a newspaper, you get it. So, that’s based on the you can only get the news here, this is very valuable and you pay for it. So when I say that the future of social media is the future of all media, I mean to say that newspapers and magazines, and even broadcast mediums, that don’t re-architect themselves from a newspaper delivery and service, to a media company essentially, are going to fail. So we can look at other places and see this. Like the music industry. It used to be about shipping CDs and how many CDs and product you could ship, and then the value of that dropped to zero because people could download it off the internet right? And so they started re-architecting themselves, such that music and the bands are still what they’re selling, but the way that they make their money is different. So apply this back over to newspapers. Newspapers that stay a newspaper and rely on subscription sales and ad sales, and things like this,  are probably going to struggle. Ones that reinvent themselves as a media company and start to engage and build an audience will probably continue on in the future, but I think they’re not going to look much like they look now.

HJ: Do you think people reading the news is going to change, with the fact that with twitter a lot of  people get the headlines and pick and chose, where as with radio, magazines, and newspaper, you kind of have to read a little bit of everything? Do you think that people are going to be a little bit, I guess, more focused on what they read, or do you think people are going to go and be able to soak in a little bit of everything?

KK: So I think that people’s human nature hasn’t changed at all. I think human nature is the same. So what you saw emerge was, in the old world, overwhelming amount of news. It got filtered up through editor-in-chiefs and gatekeepers. Kind of told you a bit of  story and selected and curated for you the news and stuff you were presented with. Well really we see that now today as well, there are certain highly engaged cultural curators and taste makers who suck in thousands of RSS feeds and parse it all and apply their own judgement, taste, and discretion to it and then  spit back own their own feed of highly distilled content. Are you interested in hip-hop culture in Vancouver? You gotta follow this guy because he curates the world of Vancouver’s hip-hop culture into a stream of stuff. That’s not that much that different than a sports editor or a finance editor, or something like that. So I view what’s taking place as a dis-intermediation and upheaval of traditional higher hierarchy, but the human nature is fundamentally the same. I can’t listen to every band in the world. I position myself close to first order musical taste makers who tell me what’s good right? And I can’t follow every social media story in the world, so I find 2 or 3 guys who I know who are highly engaged in doing that and I listen to those guys. So thats the newspaper of the future, the mix-and-match Google homepage where it’s like these two bloggers who represent my community, my block in Gastown, giving me their news. And then this other guy who writes for sports illustrated, but he’s an activist, so he writes about activist athletes from sports perspectives. So I’m curating my own newspaper here together through other people’s tastes.

HJ: So how you feel that social media is changing how people interact with each other when it’s actually in person. I know Malcolm Gladwell has talked about this several times in his interviews in the past, but how do you feel about it? Do you think with the younger generations, it’s going to be an issue? Or do you think it’s not going to be as big of a problem as some people are making it out to be? The interpersonal skills that is.

KK: These are the kinds of questions that i think about alot, so i want to step back from “Is Twitter [messing] up interpersonal human communication?” and look back  as technology has changed, the phone, the televsion, we’ve stepped farhter and farther from the face-to-face, oral cultures of our past, and i think that there are tradeoffs. i think we gain the ability to instantaneously reach a network around the world of people, but maybe we give up other things. I think there’s tradeoffs for sure. I’m a bit (?????), I think that the medium is the message. What i mean specifically about that in this context is that when you’re sitting back sucking tweets all day, maybe the format you’re being delievered the tweets in is as important as the payload of that particular tweet. We’re staying headlines and soundbites are more important than substance or context. and so those are the more subtle biases that a particular medium has towards the type of conversation that takes place there. But I think the most important thing is for us to continue to develop our media literacy skills as individuals and as a society, and continue to ask ourselves,  “Who are we? Who are we becoming? Do we like the way we’re becoming?” and to self correct. There was no beta test. We are the beta test. It’s not like they ran this social media experiment in a laboratory and optimized the results and came back and implemented it in the world. No. You’re the lab rat. I’m the lab rat. So it’s important for us to keep evaluating what does this all mean.

HJ: On a similar note, I know that I am getting a little bit jaded with all these invitations to charity functions and things like that. Do you think that people are getting a little jaded just because there are so many of these mass Facebook invites or mass tweets about events that are happening, but there’s no personal connection compared to someone just telling you about it?

KK: Again, I’m almost like close your eyes and go on this visualization with me. The landscape has changed. Before, a charity would fund raise through a 3rd party source, and these people were experts and were able to uniquely touch their donors and constituencies in a certain way. Dis-intermediation, power(?) hierarchy upheaval. The landscape’s changed. Union Gospel Mission can now via the internet and fund raise directly to their constituent base without the kind of lag and process with more ability to do AB testing and different things like that. I think that as happens in a land grab, new frontier type of environment, people are just coming and putting up shop because they can, but we don’t have best practices. We don’t have industry standards. We’re all looking to each other. Even with this interview and events like this, it’s like “Hey dude, tell me what it’s like out there for you and what’s working for you, and what do you see on the horizon.” So it’s this process of, we’re literally creating the future of how charity fund raise, how they talk to their donors and  constituents, how news is delivered and consumed. Even, generated and reported, how it’s sourced. All these things are like, it’s like its trying to say that internet really changes everything. Throwing everything in a bag, shaking it up, and dump it out, and that’s what you got. We’re putting it back together as I see it. Yeah, we’re a little ways into that, but that’s what I see going on.

We continued to talk a little bit more after that about tips he has for bloggers and photographers, but that’s for another post.

So through these few interviews, and just listening to what the speakers had to say, I’ve come to see the future of social media as something that inevitably going to be an important part of everyone’s life. Now, what function it serves and exactly how important is still to be seen. After all, social media has been around for a while now, but it is still incredibly young and only recently has begun to hit mainstream culture. What do you think about social media and its future? What are your answers to the questions I had asked? Leave a comment, start a discussion. Just because F5 Expo is over, doesn’t mean the discussion has to sit on the back burner.

Stay tuned for part 3 of my report on the F5 Expo. Don’t miss it, as I’ll be discussing Malcolm Gladwell’s keynote speech. If there’s something you’d especially like to hear my opinion on, just leave me comment.

*EDIT*
Here’s the audio for the above portion of the interview.
Interview with Kris Krug @ F5 Expo

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