How connectivity is revolutionizing everything

Media: We are all media now

by Mathew Ingram

In a world of connected devices and always-on networks, everyone is now a member of the media. While the full ramifications of this are still becoming clear, they have already been profound: Social-media tools that allow anyone to become a publisher have created a democracy of distribution that has torn down the barriers between the media and everyday life.

News consumers who used to stick to one or two newspapers and a TV channel are using Twitter, Google+ and apps like Flipboard to curate their own news from a variety of sources — some of them mainstream, but many of them not.

Newspapers and magazines aren’t the only forms of traditional media that have been — and continue to be — disrupted by the web. Books are also undergoing a transformation as they become digital. Amazon’s Kindle platform has created an explosion of e-books, and helped to fuel a rise in self-publishing that has turned formerly ignored authors into industry superstars almost overnight. And Amazon is causing even more upheaval in the publishing business by signing authors to its own publishing imprints, promising them things traditional agencies can’t (or won’t) offer.

All this upheaval is causing turmoil in these industries: Newspapers are closing their doors, magazines are ceasing publication, and the remaining players are scrambling to launch iPad and Facebook apps or erect paywalls in an attempt to shore up their crumbling bottom lines. Book retailers such as Borders have filed for bankruptcy, and some publishers are clearly rattled by Amazon’s incursions into their business.

What lies ahead for some or all of these industries as the media continues to evolve and become more connected? We’ll hear more on this from media execs like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Pandora’s CTO Tom Conrad, and CBS Interactive’s President Jim Lanzone at GigaOM RoadMap.