Blog-o-kvetch

A blog about new media and it’s role in IMC.

Archive for March 2009

The demise of print?

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This week in class, we were asked to examine the effect of new media on other mediums in IMC, and which elements we thought would become obsolete.

Unsurprisingly, for me at least, newspapers were a popular topic of discussion. I was one of several in class who lamented the decline of advertising in print publications. Many newspapers in the U.S. are currently experiencing a severe downturn in advertising revenue, which has been compounded not only by new media elements like Craigslist, but also the economic crisis.

An essay by the recently-deceased former editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, John Walter, proclaims that newspapers are dying. Walter goes on to blame three people for this demise: a man who wrote a column about the decline of multiple-newspaper towns, design directors, and Al Neuharth, the former head of Gannett Inc. It’s an interesting essay, but I don’t think it addresses the reason that advertisers have fled. (You can read the essay here.)

In “The Vanishing Newspaper,” Phillip Meyer hypothesizes that newsprint will finally collapse in America in the year 2043. The book was written nearly five years ago, yet it seems like eons. In the last three months alone, the newspaper industry has shed thousands of jobs and the Rocky Mountain News has shut down. 2043 seems way too late for the death of newsprint. I think at this point, 2015 would not be too wild of a guess.

A few years ago a couple of interns at the Poynter Institute produced this first video, Epic 2014, positing that Google and Amazon.com would kill newspapers. It scared the hell out of me and many others in the newspaper industry. A year later, they followed up with Epic 2015, seen below. Now, what seemed likely in 2004 and 2005 is outdated as well. For example, the first video talks about the potential of Friendster; Facebook had barely made a dent back then in the social networking world. It just goes to show how quickly the new media landscape shifts.

Something in the EPIC videos stands out to me: when Reason Magazine sent all of its subscribers custom tailored issues. Although a print publication, this obviously took a lot of time and resources. However, with technology and programs like Google Earth, it is a lot easier now to selectively target an audience, in real time. Perhaps that is why newspapers are going out of vogue the fastest: they are not targeted demographically or psychographically, but geographically, and can not be updated quickly. Interaction is also slow; a letter to the editor takes days to show up in the newspaper, whereas feedback is much more instantaneous on the Web.

Because IMC is most effective when a healthy, interactive relationship exists between customer and seller, it’s obvious to me why newspapers, which are the worst at both interactivity and relationships, are finding themselves quickly becoming passe.

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Written by fsk50a

March 29, 2009 at 12:43 am

Monetizing Twitter

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So a friend of mine retweeted a message from Red Eye’s twitter stream tonight. That sentence alone is so odd. I never would have thought I would be using “tweet” as a verb. Anyway, she sent me to this humorous site with a cartoon all about how to monetize Twitter.

At the end of the page is information about how businesses can use Twitter. It links to this site from Julio Ojeda-Zapata, a technology journalist. Ojeda-Zapata has written a book called “Twitter Means Business,” which “profiles businesses of all types and sizes that have learned to exploit Twitter in a variety of creative, effective ways.” According to Ojeda-Zapata, some firms that have Twitterized include Dell, Comcast, JetBlue, Whole Foods and Zappos.

I had no idea that these companies are on Twitter. So I went into my Twitter account to search for them. A search for Zappos brought up 52 results, including the CEO and COO. Unfortunately, their streams seem a bit more personal than businesslike. The top posts on the CEO’s stream, for example, discusses his meeting Ivana Trump. The Inside Zappo’s stream, however, is a lot more fun and links to the “Inside Zappo’s” blog. It makes Zappo’s look like a fun company to work for and makes me feel even more connected to the online shoe retailer. There’s also a Zappo’s Customer Service stream. How helpful! It seems whomever runs it is very responsive as well.

In short, it seems there’s a lot that businesses can do with Twitter, and a lot to learn as well. Like…keep the references to Ivanka to a minimum, maybe?

Written by fsk50a

March 24, 2009 at 11:03 pm

Posted in New Media

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Apple and Video Ads

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This week, video ads were one medium we discussed in IMC 619. But are they effective?

When I’ve had a free second the past few days, I’ve been going to Espn.com to check my NCAA Division I basketball championship bracket. There’s currently a video ad for the Apple iPhone Touch that forces you to watch the ad before you can click on the handy “My Bracket” link. Of course, I could avoid the ad by directly bookmarking my bracket page, but I’m lazy, much like most of the populance.

espnscreengrab4

The ad’s annoying if you are in a hurry to see your bracket. It also runs slowly if your bandwidth is not up to par.

This isn’t the first time Apple has used video ads. A few months ago, the “PC” and “Mac” guys, aka John Hodgman and Justin Long, were featured in a video ad on the New York Times homepage.

nytimesgrab1

Interestingly, television ads for the iPhone have featured the New York Times homepage as well. Have the two companies struck some sort of agreement?

Maria Russo, writing on the LA Times blog, calls the ad “a continuation of Apple’s history of designing Web ads that are literally out of the box– they don’t stay confined to the traditional online ad “cubes.”

Douglas MacMillan, writing in Business Week says, “Whatever form they take, online video ads are confusing for consumers. Can an ad be skipped, and what happens when you click on a banner or link—those are just some of the questions that leave Internet users scratching their heads.” MacMillan echoes my complaint as well: online viewers are more impatient than TV viewers.

This hasn’t stopped a proliferation in online video ads, however. According to the Wall Street Journal, “research firm eMarketer predicted that online video-ad spending by U.S. advertisers would grow 45% to $850 million in 2009.” There’s also no industry standard yet with regards to online video ads. Should they interfere with the site? Be optional to view? Be 15 or 30 seconds long?

What do you think?

Here’s the full Apple/New York Times video, which ran in September 2008, as well as the current ESPN iPhone ad. Thanks YouTube!

Written by fsk50a

March 21, 2009 at 10:18 pm

All about me

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Here's a photo of me in Iowa

Here's a photo of me in Iowa

Hello everyone! My name is Francie and I am a graduate student at West Virginia University in the integrated marketing communications program. I am currently enrolled in my fourth 9-week session and I am taking IMC 618: Public Relations and IMC 619: Emerging Media & the Market. I am:

  • a resident of Iowa but a native Chicagoan
  • a graduate of the University of Missouri
  • a Boston Red Sox fan
  • not French, even though my name sounds French. I do like France, however. I will be visiting France and Monaco as part of a 12-day cruise this fall. I have been to Paris, in 2002.
I will triumph! At the Arc de Triomphe.

I will triumph! At the Arc de Triomphe.

I am also an animal lover. I have two cats, Carter and Lucy. And a husband, Dan, who is a photojournalist. We met in college and got married on March 25, 2006 in Savannah, Georgia, where we were living at the time. I currently work at The Quad-City Times as Page 1 editor. I edit stories and layout Page A1 primarily.

Oh and about the name of this blog: I got the idea from the disgraced former governor of my home state of Illinois: Rod Blagojevich. “Kvetch” in Yiddish means to complain. So I thought it was appropriate.

Written by fsk50a

March 17, 2009 at 1:33 am

Posted in IMC, New Media, WVU

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