Reputation and the Second Media Age

When you think of the word “media” these days, what comes to mind will probably be shaped by your generation. 

I still see the term “new media”, which in some contexts means any social media platform, and some people still use it to describe anything online.

Others of the Gen Y persuasion talks about “old media” – you know, back in the days when we used to get our news from printed pages, imagine that! For others, that’s “traditional media”.

We’re now also seeing references to the First and Second Media Ages, categorising the incredible changes communication technologies have brought us, in what seems like just a few short years.

The technological revolution is also marked by the shift from transmissionalcommunication – that is, people in positions of relative power controlling the various channels and deciding what to tell you and when – and transactional – where the audience has an equal stake in the deal, the communication is two-way and messages can be shaped and disseminated by anyone. You don’t need to own a media empire to do it.

When it comes to building reputation capital, organisations and businesses now have a dazzling choice of channels. Some of them could be classified as “old” or “traditional”, where you get your message out via a third-party like a radio program, newspaper or magazine.  Some forms of those channels, like hard copy newspapers, are waning, but they still collectively pack a hefty punch. They’re powerful because your message gains extra credibility by being filtered through an external party.

And then, of course, there’s the “new” channels, where you get to engage directly with your customers, constituents or other important players.  No organisation, in today’s Reputation Economy, can ignore direct, interactive communication.

So where do you put your time and resources? Should all your eggs be in the social media basket – firmly planted in the Second Media Age -  or does the good old-fashioned media release still have a place?

The answer lies in balance. In today’s smorgasbord of communication methods, don’t gorge on the dessert and have no room for anything else.

Straddle the old and the new by having a clear reputation strategy that’s driven by your business objectives – not by the tools themselves.