There is no lostness like that which comes to a man when a perfect and certain pattern has dissolved about him. — John Steinbeck

MORE DIMES, Part 3 of 5

II. Capitalize on Trends: both strengths and weaknesses

Perhaps it shouldn’t (or doesn’t?) need to be said, but craftsmanship and expertise count. Contrary to some commentaries, expert reviews can explain the complexities of advanced craftsmanship, whether in a high-end movie, high-end car or sporting event. There is a reason “Two Thumbs Up” became a trusted national brand, and why that brand was often at odds with success measured only by gross income.

Using the social media de jour to advance craft and expertise simply makes sense. Twitter, for example, is a distribution channel, which can reach communities which share interests. Top trending regional tweets should be part of any legacy business’s online info center, complete with links to information that could clarify questions or concerns brought up by both legitimate sources and rumor-mills.

Obviously there is a potential dark side to paying too much attention to the popular. But popular and community involvement are not at odds. Bloggers are not always amateurs, and even if they are, they may have a particular expertise of high value.

Building community involvement is not easy, nor readily manageable. But building community involvement, being the source of Truth, Justice and the American way, is exactly the task set for each daily or weekly newspaper, each TV station, each outlet that wants to survive.

And I would submit that building community also means building trust. One early study of Facebook indicated that people quickly learned not to trust the opinions of their Facebook friends, unless it was an opinion based on their expertise! One of many ways to build trust is through excellent reporting. Another is to refute distortions made by others. Local media might want to consider reporting on false sites/false emails. What would it take to hook up with Snopes?

The future does not belong to the “citizen journalist.” That oxymoron simply means that some inexperienced wanna-be will get themselves killed. While unfortunate, and often irritatingly wrong, they are not the moral or ethical responsibility of bonafide journalists. Building community, built around being the information resource – the future belongs to that entity.

Copyright 2013, Craig Sinard.