Teen Webby Winners Talk About Old vs. New Media

teenwebbyMay 12, 2009 Hat tip to Ypulse for linking these Webby winning student journalists who reinforce that this blog fits into my own “don’t do as I do” persona of ‘long form blogging’ in a microblog era.

I’m adding a ‘must read’ by Jerry Bowles on Social Media Today titled, “The Internet is Killing America’s Free Press & Why It Matters” and I also agree with On Living By Learning’s Sandra Foyt (who guest posts after the jump) that there IS a time and place for both forms…

And yes, my webcam shy persona is clearly ‘old media’ even though I participate fully in ‘new media’ in the youth sphere…And yes, I AM looking for summer interns and ‘spokesteens’ to flitter through Twitter in sound bite style…

But can broad analysis be summed into 140 characters with any depth? I agree that you can impart a lot in a Facebook status line and Twitter link, but it still feels like a springboard versus a diving platform.

blog-cartoonSandra Foyt addresses the strong sphere of influence coming from the ‘Kill Your Blog’ camp of Valleywags and trend-trackers (but that’s mostly because they want to ‘monetize’ save it for an e-book, and horde content; whereas I happen to be an open source gal…

The whole  notion that ‘blogs are so 2004’ as Paul Boutin’s Wired article conveyed seems to have a certain smugness about it as if expressing thoughts beyond 140 characters is all sooooooo yesterday.

(Who has time to actually THINK for themselves anymore, hmn? Let your ‘friends feed’ it to you—media pals and folks you ‘follow’ will tell you what’s worthy, right? ahem…Can we say ‘sheeple’, people?) Sandra’s article debating blog vs. microblog is no less relevant this very second as it was in the fall when she first wrote it and the ‘kill your blog’ hype was the hot topic d’jour…

But guess what? It’s ‘old news’ to some in ‘new media.’

Truth is, it’s only ‘revisiting’ the topic to an eensy weensy nano-portion of people who actually keep up with ‘buzzfeeds’ and all that clutter…To most of the world, it’s an entirely new conversation. Actually we could back up even further and consider that to much of the internet-free population it’s more like:

“‘What IS a blog? What IS Twitter? What IS digital media? Or  ‘where the heck did my morning paper go?”

And we won’t even address the emerging nations conundrums in this post with mobile being the lead feed in boom towns. Is there any wonder why I don’t pay attention to ‘group think’ or the rantings of rankings/ratings/analytics and self-awarded popularity polls of blogosphere ‘biggies’?

Meh, that’s new media using old media ‘numbers games’ to attempt to play the power base game of broadcasting to many rather than speaking directly to an intimate community of few…a far more  interesting and passionate lot as a rule.

From a journalism and attention deficit standpoint though, it admittedly concerns me…

Hearing the amazing teens in the video and working with them daily sometimes makes me feel like our compressed culture of ‘headlines and quick scan reading’ are almost conveying the notion that meaty, weighty, ‘long form’ blogs are the New York Times of the genre, ‘short form’ blogs are the visual nuggets like USA Today

And microblogging like Twitter and Friend Feed?

They’d be the ‘CNN running headline graphics’ zipping by with ‘top news’ from the favorite personalities in your media world…

If blogs are considered heavy lifting on the literacy front, (and I know mine overwhelms even ME sometimes) could SMS headines be our next news feeds?

Will we be reliant on 2 minute video clips to be ‘long form’ thoughtful discussion?

How is that sustainable for free-thinking discourse on topics that REALLY matter? As the students say, isn’t that ‘cheating them’ out of a richer dialog?

There’s a need for dialog that’s not navel-gazing or intellectual pontificating but solutions-based collaboration…Using our ‘collective knowledge’ to blend human and technological cultural systems for global good, as Doug Engelbart would say.


Without a doubt, visual thinking is here to stay…(In fact, don’t miss our own NextNow Collaboratory co-founder Bonnie DeVarco’s visualization exhibit at Stanford Media X running through year’s end)

And I realize it’s not an ‘either/or’ proposition, nor is long or short form citizen  journalism…It’s just another channel…But what do you think about what the teens have to say? Comments? (You can go over 140 characters, I won’t cut you off! No blog hog rules apply here, we’re open to any and all points of view!)

Finally, here’s Sandra Foyt’s concise analysis originally published on her own blog, On Living By Learning (even though she’s an avid Twitterer, I hope she NEVER abandons her words!)

To Blog, Or Not to Blog in the MicroBlog Era

sandra-foytby Sandra Foyt

Reprinted with permissions for Shaping Youth

Just as I was getting comfortable with my blog, I started hearing whispers to, “Kill Your Blog.”  Yeah, today it’s all about Twitter and FriendFeed, and blogs are so yesterday.

Well, I don’t care if blogs aren’t hip anymore, I’m not giving mine up, and you shouldn’t either.

Who Says You Should Kill Your Blog?

Wired’s Paul Boutin says that “the time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.”  He argues that you should kill you blog because:

  • Blogging is too big. Personal sites can’t compete with teams of professional writer who post a slew of articles daily.
  • Blogs lure low-lifes. Blogs are magnets for hecklers.
  • Blogs aren’t the best way to display multimedia.  YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook are better for your videos, photos, and music.
  • Blogs are out, Twitter is in.  All the cool guys are on Twitter, and the 140-character limit levels the playing field.

Rumors of Blog Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Rumors of blogging’s demise have been circulating for at least as long as I’ve been blogging.  Last year, Richard MacManus tackled the buzz around suggestions that social platforms, such as MySpace/Facebook, were killing blogs.

In ReadWriteWeb, MacManus gave several reasons why people will keep on blogging (with my personal commentary):

  • Media Website – There are still niches, or micro niches, that you can cover well with a blog.  You can even recruit your own team, if the topic warrants the coverage.
  • Discussion Platform – Blogging is still the best way to communicate thoughtfully on a topic. A blog article is just the beginning of a conversation.  It’s the comments, and sometimes back-and-forth on linked articles, that make this the ideal medium for covering a subject.  For example, one of the joys and benefits of my blog has been a sustained conversation with Amy Jussel, of Shaping Youth on a variety of related subjects (kids online, video games, media literacy, politics, etc.)

What Are Other Bloggers Saying?

Andrew Sullivan, of The Daily Dish, has a very persuasive essay currently in The Atlantic, describing Why He Blogs.  He relishes the freedom of direct broadcast, with the depth of related links and multimedia content, and the connection to material that comes before and after.  Additionally, he appreciates the connection between writer and reader where a blog evolves into a collaborative enterprise in which the collective mind gathers good ideas, while filtering out the bad.

Michele Martin, of The Bamboo Project, worries that killing blogs is a recipe for trouble.  In What To Say The Next Time Someone Asks Why They Should Blog, she counsels you to respond that, for learning, “We need more sustained discussions and reflection, the kind that’s supported by blogging.”

She then pulls out the big guns, Seth Godin and Tom Peters’ short video on why blogs have changed their lives, “Do it for yourself, to become part of the conversation…to change your perspective…intellectual outlook…and emotional outlook.”

Why I’m Going To Keep On Blogging

Personally, I blog for all of these reasons, and more.

I blog: to remember, to influence, to find like-minded peers, to learn, to grow, and to share.

My blog was born out of an ongoing conversation with a dear friend, and fellow mom, who inspires me to think about parenting and education choices.

Over the past year, I’ve met many parents and educators who have given me pertinent advice and much food for thought.  Some are also on Twitter, and this has been a good way to pose a short question or request.  However, tweets are not a replacement for longer, evolving conversations.

Paul Boutin Is Wrong, Don’t Kill Your Blog

As far as I’m concerned, Paul Boutin is wrong:

  • Blogging Is Too Big? Not For Me – I’m not trying to compete with a blogging conglomerate, not that there is any in my particular area of interest.  I’m not in this for the money, anyway.
  • Blogs Lure Low-Lifes? Wrong – The people who comment on this blog are some of the nicest, smartest, remarkable people you will ever meet.
  • Blogs Aren’t The Best Way To Display Multimedia? I Disagree – Using Windows Live Writer or WordPress Plugins makes it incredibly easy to add multimedia elements to this blog, and this allows me to easily add the full story behind the photos or videos.  That’s not so easy to do on Flickr, You Tube, or Facebook.
  • Blogs Are Out, Twitter Is In? Not a Chance! – I love, love, love Twitter; but it’s no replacement for my blog, not at all.

Why Do You Blog, Or Why Not?

Tell me, do you blog?  What do you love about blogging?  Would you replace blogging with other media such as Twitter, Flickr, You Tube, Facebook, or something else? And if you don’t blog, why not?

sftwitterblogSandra Foyt, author of On Living By Learning, is a mom, home school educator, youth group leader, child advocate, activist, and writer. Through the On Living By Learning blog, she shares her passion for inspiring creative life-long learners who want to make the world a better place.

You can also follow Sandra On Twitter or Facebook... She’s far less reticent than I am about media management/overload with inspiring tidbits, fun finds and insights that always make me go ‘hmn’…Check out her blog! (ok, or Twitterfeed)

smoothiep.s. Advance notice to the Packaging Girlhood duo, along with Dr. Robyn, Dr. Jenn, Sara Grimes and all the other girl power advisors and ‘readergirlz’ here at Shaping Youth…

This summer Tracee (over at The Girl Revolution) and I are talking about resurrecting our own archival posts to introduce new readers to our blogs and vice-versa…So Sandra’s guest post is a prototype of the ‘Summer of Link Love’ that we’re proposing in lieu of ‘killing our blogs’ and ‘tweeting’ for the summer…Bio, headshot, relevant topic, good writing, well-resourced and on topic. Submissions, advisors?

Favorite oldies but goodies?

Readers? You can chime in on this; tween/teen writers too!

Remember, you can get ‘service credit’ for your school and stay sharp as a pencil over summer break reporting on media moments either behind the scenes or on the web!)

Leave a comment and I’ll send you a note…

Personally, I’d like to spend time ‘shaping youth’ with wakeboards-n-water fun on our lagoon, so I like this idea a lot.

I’ve been remiss in rotating our correspondents into the mix regularly, so this is a perfect invitation to pour it into a summer smoothie and press blend! 😉

Visual Credits: Cartoon graphic from TalkTurkey, Science Related Wikipedian Activity map featured in the Third Iteration of Places & Spaces by Bruce W. Herr II, Todd Holloway, Katy Börner, Elisha F. Hardy, Kevin Boyack (2007). Image courtesy www.abeautifulwww.com. Smoothie via ehow.com, Teen video via NCEN Extra in Boston



  1. VLAB Event – Transforming Journalism: What Are The New Business Models and Entrepreneurial Opportunities?

    Event Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:00pm

    Location: Stanford Business School

    6:00pm – 7:00pm – Networking and Hors D’oeuvres (Arbuckle Lounge)
    7:00pm – 8:30pm – Panel Discussion and Q/A (Bishop Auditorium)

    Reputable national newspapers such as the Tribune Company and New York Times are in financial crisis, and many local newspapers have stopped publishing.

    How will journalism and the news business evolve with technology? What are the new opportunities for entrepreneurs? How can high-tech innovators build new business models around news and the barrage of newly unemployed journalists?

    Join us and explore opportunities presented by the turmoil in the news industry and the business models being tried out by incumbents and new entrants. This event will bring together both old and new media companies, journalists and investors trying to reshape the news industry.


    Guy Kawasaki, Founder, AllTop

    Norman A. Fogelsong, General Partner, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP)

    Rob Curley, President and Executive Editor of Greenspun Interactive, Las Vegas Sun

    Ann Grimes, Acting Director, Graduate Program in Journalism, Stanford University

    Also of interest (to me anyway!)

    June VLAB Event – Exploring the Mobile Apps Opportunity – How to Get to Ca-Ching!

    Event Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 6:00pm

    Location: Stanford Business School

    6:00pm – 7:00pm – Networking and Hors D’oeuvres (Arbuckle Lounge)
    7:00pm – 8:30pm – Panel Discussion and Q/A (Bishop Auditorium)

    For several years now, consumers have download and installed a broad range of mobile apps onto their mobile devices. However, Apple with its iPhone App Store has blazed a new trail, resulting in consumers embracing and downloading mobile apps like never before. 2009 is indeed shaping up to be “the year of mobile app stores” – as device manufacturers, carriers, software companies are all rushing to emulate Apple’s model and achievement.

    Join us as a panel of experts explore opportunities in this dynamic, rapidly evolving mobile application eco-system. The event will bring together developers, carriers, device manufactures and VCs to key answer questions in every mobile entrepreneur’s mind, namely: how do they get to ca-ching and build a viable mobile app development business.

    * What are the challenges that application developers face as they set out to build a viable business?
    * What should developers be focusing on in this highly fragmented eco-system?
    * Which comes first, the application or the platform?
    * Should developers first develop a killer mobile app and then try to figure out which platform to run it on, or should they first pick a device/platform and then optimize their app for that specific platform?


    Tom Krazit, CNET


    Steve Demeter, Developer of the famous “Trism”, iPhone app

    Adam Blum, CEO, Rhomobile

    Matt Murphy, Partner and iFund Manager, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers

    MIT/Stanford Venture Lab (VLAB) http://www.vlab.org/

  2. Thanks for including me in this discussion, even if it’s in another head-spinning, super-rich post. I confess, sometimes I have to work hard to understand your posts (as I hope my readers say as well), but that’s ’cause I always learn so much from you.

    I’m very curios to see how technology will transform journalism, just as it’s changing academics. There’s been a lot of chat about diminishing attention spans impacting the material that is produced, but I think that we’ll also see more media rich journalism with connections to books as well as shorter bits that enlarge media content.

    Sandra Foyt’s last blog post..Moving Beyond Learning Standards

  3. На Вашем месте я бы попросил помощи у пользователей этого форума.

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