Stories From The Past: I Was There, Too

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It was in 1994. I lived in Slovenia for just over a year when it was announced that Đorđe Balašević will hold a concert at the Tivoli Hall in Ljubljana. I guess there is no need to explain how a Vojvodjanin (a man from Vojvodina), who is a big fan of Đole (Đole is a nickname of Djordje – translator’s comment), felt at that moment. One of my own nearest and dearest was coming. I couldn’t wait for the big day, proud and excited at the same time.

Life in Slovenia was normal, but in most of the former republics of our country, the war still lasted. Factually, in such a situation, that concert was more than a musical event. Tivoli was crowded – apart from the local audience, there were people from all over our former country, which could clearly be seen on the banners they were carrying. It was the concert for remembering, one of those moments you know you will always remember at the very instant in which it happens. Driven by this emotion, I wrote the text for the newspaper agency from Novi Sad “Nezavisni” and named it “I Was There, too.” A few weeks later I found myself in Novi Sad and met a friend who, before I even said hello to, told me: “It’s good you were there, too. If you hadn’t put it as the title, we wouldn’t have known it! “. I was thinking for a while and realized he was right. The title should highlight the most important element of the content and If you want to report about an event, then write about it, and give it the appropriate title. The fact that for me, personally, this concert was an event of special importance because of all the circumstances is understandable, but it is my private thing and it does not necessarily have to be of any interest to the readers of the newspaper who want to be informed about an event.

Meanwhile, the world has changed and my former wrong approach concerning titles has become a standard today in the world of social networks. This came to my mind by reading news report on another event, a concert by Hugh Laurie, a legendary Dr House, recently held in Belgrade. Here is one of his comments during the concert, which he posted on his Tweet, and it was published in Belgrade’s Blic newspaper: “A great show in Belgrade. I hope that the audience will enjoy it when they watch it on their phones “, said the actor, obviously dissatisfied that a large part of the audience had spent a concert recording it on their phones.” Unfortunately, I didn’t go to that concert, but I went at another great concert in Belgrade, a week earlier, to listen to one of my favourite poets, composers and singers from this region, Gibonni, who held the concert in the intimate atmosphere of Bitef Art Caffe at Kalamegdan. At one point, he addressed a girl who, like many others, was recording and taking photos of him performing: “Just take photos, but trust me, memories worth more than pictures. Better hold and hug the guy next to you and love him, instead of holding that phone! “People were applauding and, of course, they continued to take photos and videos!

A couple of days later I was sitting with a group of nice people and the atmosphere was relaxed. As everyone typed on their phones, they were talking about all sorts of things, then we ordered coffees and cocktails. Naturally, people first took photos, when the drink was served, then they drank it, and than, again, of course, made more photos.  – So, it was just a regular get-together, nothing special. “See, 36 likes in half an hour! – was the reply. “Not bad – you’ll get to 50 for sure!” came the encouraging response. “I was really bummed last night – one hour, man, and nothing on the phone!!! Then I played a couple of games cuz I had nothing else to do!” – added the third one. “I totally get you! I guess it was the heat, who knows…” the fourth one chimed in, soothingly. The conversation was suddenly interrupted by an angry female voice: “This Marijana chick (real name also Marijana, telephone number known to the writer of this text) is really out of line! She used to be a sure “like”, just like I used to be her sure “like”, and now – she just disappears!” “Call her right now!” the friend sitting next to her advised. “I will!” A none too pleasant telephone conversation ensued in front of everybody, there was an issue with a “dead” battery, there was a situation where “I had a package I had to sign for”  and that sort of thing, but don’t worry, the friendship survived, with the promise that this would never happen again. She even promised a huge number “likes” in the future. The crew breathed a collective sigh of relief and life was back to virtual normal! Phew!

That’s the way it is today! Different events are becoming less of a reason to meet up, and more of a reason to report on them to a wide audience and send the message “I’m here too!”

This year’s Oscar nomination resembled the backstage of already legendary “selfie” Ellen DeGeneres, more than it represented the event at which the most prestigious film awards are given. And all this is no longer new, and even less unexpected, but a logical consequence of what has been said here many times that man has become a medium that produces and broadcasts a program. And what is the purpose of this broadcasting?  The point is to be seen, heard and read by as many people as possible.  And which program do we broadcast as individuals? Our own life. And what are we ready to do to be watched, heard and read by as many people as possible? We live the life that we believe is interesting to a large number of people. So, like every television station, we start to produce our own life to broadcast it to as many people hoping they will watch it. That is why we choose the places to go bearing in mind the image that we will send from there to our “followers”. We go to events that we think our “friends” will be especially interested in, and then inform them and then “talk about it” with our friends through social networks.

Some of the stars from traditional media world have adapted to this new media reality and, using the opportunities it has offered, even increased their glory and popularity and turned their media relevance into successful business projects through the self-establishment as an independent media brand. The best explanation of this phenomenon provided Jay-Z  by answering the question whether he is more a businessman or a singer: “I am not a businessman, I am a business, man!” The same is true for 24-year-old English Zoella, who was completely unknown to the public until recently. She used to write fashion and makeup blog out of the hobby, which turned into a vlog in 2009, and today she has 5.2 million subscribers to her YouTube channel, 2.3 million of which she amassed starting from January this year, alone…  Last year, British BBC Radio 1 nominated Zoelle as the best British blogger, and in November this year, her first novel “Girl Online”, was published by the renowned Penguin publishing house. Her annual earnings from YouTube and from other sources, different fashion and cosmetic brands which she promotes, reach hundreds of thousands of pounds.

So, in this way, the “man – medium” has become a very relevant subject of the media scene. Today, when we want to give a description of the relevant media situation in a market, in addition to traditional print and electronic media, we also include influential bloggers and twitterers, people who have the relevant number of views of their video channels or subscribers on their YouTube channels. They are engaged in certain campaigns, invited to events, as they will, of course, report about them the same way as television or journalists. Therefore, they have the same status as traditional media. What is the secret to their success? How and why did not these people succeed through traditional media? The answer is simple – they are not and will never be objective! That’s why they succeeded! That does not mean they’re lying. All they do is give personal, subjective comments and descriptions of occurrences and events. They are – authentic! This is their key advantage. This is why they have gathered so many followers, friends, no matter how we call these people, that is what they ask for. They gained confidence with their authenticity,  and the question of trust was and still remained a key criterion to achieve relevance. “It’s all weird because I never intended to make a job out of it!” – said Zoelle in an interview. We could say that authenticity in today’s media world is a basic precondition for establishing communication, as it was an antenna in the traditional media electronic world.

This is exactly what traditional media don’t understand, nor are able to understand. They remained stuck in the distant past, where the content was chosen to satisfy average tastes so that everyone is a bit satisfied but no one completely. In that world, the rule remains that popular and famous will become only those they choose and decide to promote! And that world doesn’t exist anymore. That’s why their ratings and revenues fall, and everything they do makes them become more and more irrelevant.

New media understand this and see themselves as neutral platforms enabling better and more efficient dialogue between individuals. Thus, Google is offering 45% of the advertising income generated through the number of views of videos recorded and uploaded to YouTube, which is why it has an interest in as many people as possible making the most professional videos possible, and why it offers advice and support to all those looking to enhance their content.

Facebook made a partnership with about twenty retail chains to test the effect of online advertising on its site by measuring the number of views on profiles that sale something. In addition, they are considering to introduce the „buy“ button and to enter into the e-commerce world. There is only one step from here to the moment when clients will be able to have the media space for free which will be paid by the percentage of the profit gained at that media platform or thanks to it. This next step will be made soon!

If we look from the perspective of brands, the key change made by this media revolution is that the criterion by which the effect of market communication, i.e. “commercial” has changed. Until recently, it was measured by the number of people who saw the ad, and today, it is an interaction into which the individual is involved and motivated to stay in by the message he received. Due to all this, a whole new world opens up in front of brands and this is a great time for them. As a man has become a medium, brands must transform and become mediums, too. Every medium connects people, today’s individualized media establish a dialogue and start communications. This is what brands now have to do and to do this, they must begin to produce the content that gathers people and make them discuss. It must be authentic content that will initiate an authentic interest and which will be guided by an authentic dialogue. This content must have different forms that will function simultaneously. We will soon watch more sitcoms and films completely produced by brands, although they will not be about them. We will read magazines, not catalogues, published by brands, we will attend concerts organized by brands without the brand logo on the stage… It will be content that is worth talking about and spreading it within the unlimited media space we live in today. Until yesterday, brands primarily took care of media channels through which they sent their unified message to anonymous potential buyers. Today, they have constantly to produce content that will attract people and make them recognize in it, and then spread it further and publish to the whole world: “I was there, too!”.

Source: Media Marketing

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