The media revolution

Ok.  I’ll admit I’m a history buff.  That’s not really embarrassing.  What I tend to hide is that I enjoy pretty much any history.  I’ll spend annoying amounts of time learning how an organization works; and then, I’ll try to determine how it used to work and why it changed.  You’re probably confused at this point.  What does my facination with minutia have to do with a ‘media revolution’?   It means that instead of observing an overarching trend in human society from the present backwards, I get to experience it firsthand and try to guess what the end result will be.

As background I was in high school during the 1990s.  I remember gopher, Archie and Veronica.  I was also there when the World Wide Web swept them into the histories of Wikipedia.  The way we use, interact with and create media has greatly changed since then.

I’ll even provide an example to prove my point.  Let’s imagine a typical non-profit in 1985.  Peter Drucker had not yet written his groundbreaking book Managing the non-profit organization:  practices and principles‘. The non-profit board of directors would meet quarterly, discuss business, make decisions and discuss financing.  A duly elected secretary would write everything down, transcribe it using a typewriter, and have copies made for the next board meeting.

Now think of a non-profit in 2009.  Most of their boards still haven’t read Peter Drucker’s book and many smaller organizations still do business the same way they did it in 1985.  Non-profits with a health acceptance of change have adapted well though.  They conduct business using email, online discussion groups, and the media they use to contact and engage their donors and constituents has changed radically.  Instead of mailing out donation request letters, non-profits are using email and Facebook and asking for online donations.  Instead of printing out copies of the organization’s newsletter, they’re using ISSUU to maintain digital copies that are embeddable on a website.  The ability and methods to compose media have increased drastically.

That doesn’t mean that traditional methods of mailers aren’t used.  It’s required non-profits to branch out and expand the number of ways the touch people.  Honestly, it’s a brutal learning curve.  Over time a smaller portion of a non-profit’s donors use those ‘traditional‘ methods.  If they haven’t started progressively adopting technology, they’ll become ineffective in their mission.

I honestly don’t know where this media revolution is going.  I just know that it’s moving progressively faster, and it has become a part of our society.  While I find the technology wonderful and useful, I wonder what will be recognizable when I’m an old man telling children stories of how I used the World Wide Web when I was a young man.