Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

Old Media, Welcome to New Media Land

Wed, 03/12/2008 - 20:34 -- rprice

OR "How the battle became a collaboration".

To the Editors of Popular Science:

You win.

Actually, I'm not a quitter, so I'll say this: I've decided that instead of being "versus" each other, some of you Old Media types (can I say Traditional Media? thanks) actually care about your audience. Therefore, we are actually on the same side, you and me. That's why today, I changed the name of my blog to "Ryan Price and the Media". The arc of my story is changing, Act II is beginning (but please wait until the pops are two seconds apart).

Aside, to blog readers: Yes, I now work for a big media company: Bonnier Corporation. Dozens of magazines, or more accurately now Brands or Communities, and that's just in the US. Potential for the big nasty side of media to show itself. However, as our Director of eMedia Howard was pointed out, "Bonnier is a family company, very different from a publicly traded business". He was quick to point out the differences, and I was quick to believe him.

Back to you PopSci. You have been around for hundreds of years, and if you continue on your current path, you'll be around for hundreds more. You've got a great formula working for you, and I have faith you've got the chemistry know-how to achieve the always-coveted, yet rarely achieved Activated Complex state. (sorry, that's the only thing I remember from Chem I).

Let's take a look at your assets:

First, and most importantly, you've got you're audience. Not only your current subscribers to the print edition, or the folks that pick up a glossy when they're traveling or when a pretty picture catches their eyes, but your modern-day audience. RSS subscribers, Google searchers, Diggers, Podcast listeners, Makers, Engineers and people who just want to sound smart at cocktail parties. You understand them all, and your understanding is only getting better as you experiment with new media (the content types, not the buzzword) and use your hundreds of years of publishing experience to deliver an experience that the smaller publications used to dream about (and in many cases you're still eating their lunch).

That's right. You're a contender on the Internet, but you've got a hidden advantage. You've announced that some time soon, you will be opening your entire back catalog of Popular Science archives to the public (it is to the public, right?). Either way, no Engadget or even the castle-dwellers in Massachussets can claim over a hundred years of back catalog. Hell, few entities on the planet have such a rich offering.

Ryan Block and Chris Anderson should be very very concerned.

If you can continue taking advantage of modern advances in Media distribution (and I have to say you're maybe one of the most advanced magazines I've seen in this area), your Coliseum will never fall into ruin, your Pompeii never covered with ashes.

Smart moves you've made include hiring Jonathan Coulton to be your Troubador, creating a podcast that both captivates and informs me and countless others every week, hiring bloggers to keep fresh hot steamy Science articles on your home page, having great SEO, and hiring me to maintain it all, ha ha! (I work for Popular Science, but I promise you this blog post is completely unsolicited, I only started three days ago)

Really, your organization is one to be looked up to in this time of transition, when many print publications are stopping the presses and hoping for bluer skies. I've been following my former enemy The Media very closely for the last several years, and I must say that you and I are enemies no longer, in more than one way.

I wish you the best, and I hope that I can ride your coattails to a new and exciting Land called New Media. I am honored to bask in your wizened glow.

Peace,
Ryan Price
New Hire, Drupal Developer
Bonnier Corp. and PopSci.com

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