The purpose of the book is to answer one seemingly simple question: "What is the shift in media?" What is this change that we see all around us, every day?
Back in March 2011 I was watching all the big shots from Forbes, Reuter, Yahoo and others talk about the future of publishing (at the PaidContent 2011 Conference.) At one point a member of the audience asked, "How can we transition from page views to quality content?"
It was a great question. We all know that, in a world of abundance, quality is a very important element. Everyone looked expectantly at the panel. Now we would all get the right answer.
But, Chris Ahearn, President of Reuters Media answered, "I hope you have the answer to that." He looked over at Lewis Dvorkin from Forbes and asked, "Do you know?" and Dvorkin said, "No, I don't know anything."
Mmm...not good enough. Not good at all.
We all know that the shift is here. We see the trends, the graphs, and the change in consumer behavior. But the traditional media world is not changing. They are not connecting the dots. And there is a reason for that. The shift is not your normal type of change.
We think of change as finding the next step. We already know all the steps that got us to where we are today, we just have to go one step forward.
Of course, change is never that simple. Many times the next step is a crossroad, and you have to decide which direction to take. It is a calculated risk. If you take the wrong path you might put yourself out of business.
But the shift in media is far more complicated. We have come a long way in the world of publishing, and as time progressed we have created three distinct groups: The creators, the couriers (publishers) and the readers.
We think of the shift as the next step of publishing, but that is not what the shift is about at all. The shift is the next step of the creating and reading. It is something that is happening on a different time line. And it has an incredibly disruptive effect on the old publishing world of print.
The shift is not about the format. It is a shift in power back to the creators and the readers, who are defining a new world of publishing.
This is what my book "The Shift, from print to digital...and beyond" is all about. It is a journey through time exploring these three time lines and how they are now merging into one.
It is a book about what you need to do to make a difference in a world where everyone can do everything, anywhere. It is a story about how people in the future are in control over their own news readers.
In the past, it was the newspaper editors who defined what was newsworthy. Now, the reader defines that directly. You can influence them, but you cannot control them.
Happy reading! /Thomas
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