February 8, 2010

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In Social Media Crisis Management By This Fluid World, Jonathan MacDonald reviews his own reporting of a real-life incident in the London Underground — and what happened next, as the ripples spread. Good stuff. In the midst of his talk (slides are presented in the post) he cites my own small contribution.

Interesting how normative practices continue to improve even as variants emerge, and even as supporting technology changes, along with users and uses. For example, reporting is still reporting, whether you’re doing it by blogging or tweeting or texting or phoning or … whatever the next thing is (or things are). The basic principles are the same. There are just more, and better, means, more people in a position to use them, and more discovery and improvement in the processes. (Of course, there are more bad behaviors, but those yield learnings too.)

Some of us are old enough to remember “New Journalism“, back in the 1960s. The lenghthy retrospective at that last link is fairly academic, but what was “new” back then boiled down simply to getting real. Tom Wolfe, writing back then and in the present tense: “And all the while, quite beyond matters of technique, it enjoys an advantage so obvious, so built-in, one almost forgets what power it has’: the simple fact that the reader knows all this actually happened. The disclaimers have been erased. The screen is gone. The writer is one step closer to the absolute involvement of the reader that Henry James and James Joyce dreamed of but never achieved.”

The newest journalism is practiced in a reality that allows anybody to participate, anywhere, anytime — all together improving the old with the new. Reminds me that journalism is NEA, just like free code: Nobody owns it, Everybody can use it and Anybody can improve it.

For those who think Journalism (with a capital J) is still owned by the Old Schools, stories like Jonathan’s are a reboot in the pants.

Dats love

Sez Dave (now back in Metsland), “As the 1969 Mets undid the betrayal of NY fans by the Dodgers, the Saints give hope to a city that was betrayed in so many ways.” Exactly. And let’s not forget the betrayal of NY fans by the Giants too. Losing both was a double-whammy for me as a kid. For live major league baseball, Dodgers/Giants fans had to go to a Yankees game — and root against them. Did that a few times. It was way cool. And affordable back then too.

I believed the Saints would win. The whole run-up felt like the ’69 Mets AND the ’69 Jets in Superbowl III. Both were supposed to lose to overpowering Baltimore teams. In the case of the Jets it was the same Colts that also lost yesterday to the Saints.

The sports prophets all said that the Colts were too good. Peyton Manning was the greatest quarterback ever, yada yada. Nobody seemed to notice that the Saints had a pretty good season too. Also its own Hall of Fame quarterback. And, while everybody had some sympathy for the city of New Orleans, there was also this half-tragic, “Well, it’s too bad that the Colts will win this thing.” It was like the Colts could phone it in.

Truth is, it could have gone either way. If a Colts player was found with the ball at the bottom of that scrum after the Saints’ onside kick, the tide might have turned the Colts’ way right there. Same with that pass interception on Manning. But games have a psychological side too. The Saints had the edge there. They believed. And they performed. They were the better team and the more deserving city. And I wish I’d been in New Orleans last night.

But then, I’d been there, in that vindicated, affirming place. Twice, in ’69.