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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The media professionals will be the last to realise the media has changed

A PR firm recently sent round a press release pointing journalists in the direction of their Twitter feed. I don't know that I've got the mental energy to begin to explain just how misconceived an idea this is. Journalists find the idea that they should follow a PR hilarious. It's like David Walliams following that woman home. It's like returning the call of that automated message. Of course it's perfectly possible that a PR could do a good Twitter feed but the proving of it would be up to them, as it would be with anyone else. This announcement suggests that they haven't begun to realise how the media is utterly, utterly changed and that it's no longer a feeding tube down which they can dispense warm milk to a load of eager mouths beneath. We're all at pitch level now.

When media events came out of a clear blue sky and made a pleasant distraction from the daily tedium it's conceivable that you might want to get the inside track on a press release. That is no longer the case since boredom was banished and we now compete in an attention economy where distraction is a permanent state. It doesn't really matter who you are, Universal Pictures or somebody trying to get a gig listing for a newly-formed indie band; you are no longer entitled to anybody's attention. Not the public's and not the media's. Whatever attention you manage to get you have to earn.

This seems to chime with the imminent withdrawal of CD promo copies. Journalists I talk to all shrug and say, "not my problem". And it isn't. I wonder how long it will be before the industry realises this.