A tale of the internet in 3 parts: part 1

by Lee Hopkins on March 29, 2007

in miscellaneous

Part 1

It’s a funny old place.

This internet place, I mean.

Take, for evidence, an article pointed to by my friend Peter Schultz, an article in the AFR (Australian Financial Review) on the death of podcasting as a communication medium.

In the article designed no doubt to get her company some publicity and entitled ‘Log off, tune out’ [this link may not work for you, sorry – blame the AFR’s ridiculous ‘flash’ site], Rebecca Laskary, director of PR firm Profile Public Relations, argues unconvincingly that:

“Since its arrival in 2004, podcasting has plundered its way into the Australian market, gaining increasing popularity among corporate organisations.

With advances in technology, podcasts are fairly easy to record and transmit and are hosted on a website for accessibility. It’s a simple, cost-effective process. Businesses see this as a new marketing strategy worth investing in.”

She then goes on to ask pretty much the same question ‘Pink’ did in ‘The Wall’ — “is there anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me”

Basing her argument on Thomson’s research about the level of podcasting acceptance and use by the public (I couldn’t find a copy of the research or any news releases about it on Thomson’s site).

What Ms Laskary fails to understand is that audience size is NOT the fundamental metric. She is looking at ‘new communications’ from an ‘old communications’ metric. It is NOT about columns or ink or reach; it is about WHO is paying attention. If your audience is an audience of three, but those three are equally as passionate as you about your topic, then you have made a valuable connection. If those three are decision-makers (in a B2B context) then those three may be the most influential people you could ever meet.

I was reminded of this recently when I unexpectedly met up with Samantha Grant in Second Life. As alluded to previously, Sam uses the CommsCafe podcast that Allan and I irregularly produce as a tool with which to engage the minds of fellow business communicators in her part of London. Sam is one person, but through us she has engaged the minds of many. Thus our humble podcast reaches and influences an audience greater than the mere number of downloads would suggest, because one of our audience is an influencer (or ‘powerful sneezer’ as Seth Godin would have it).

On to part 2…

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