An article by the aptly named Zephyr Teachout in the Washington Post predicts that the same digital revolution disintegrating mass media will remake the college experience as well.
Teachout writes, “Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the Internet. The business model that sustained private U.S. colleges cannot survive.” And…
“Just as the new model of news separated ‘the article’ from ‘the newspaper,’ the new model of college will separate ‘the class’ from ‘the college.’”
The digital revolution that gave every consumer a global platform for self-expression, will soon provide nearly everyone access to higher education at lower prices.
Barnes and Noble placed its first order for The Chaos Scenario last night. Ingram Book Distributors will fulfill the order from its four warehouse locations in IN, PA, OR and TN. Given Ingram’s quick turnaround, most B&N locations should have the book on the shelf by early next week.
The timing couldn’t be better. With 30 Days of Chaos set to begin October 1, the nation’s largest brick & mortar book retailer will be ready to meet demand.
Let’s all show our appreciation for B&N’s excellent choice by rushing into their stores and buying every last copy. GS
As The New York Times observes today, the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast was a paen to the pain of Chaos in progress. But in an evening of explicit and sideways references to the steady collapse of the TV networks, none was so dark as Julia Louis-Dreyfus: “…honored to be presenting on the last official year of network broadcast television.”
I certainly have no problem advising — or demanding — that Comcast and others cheerfully host conversations that may not necessarily be fun to listen to. “Comcast Sucks!” may not be the kind of notion Comcast wishes to entertain, I insist, but the process of listening means listening to the WHOLE conversation.
At least theoretically, I’ve embraced that philosophy in the promotion, marketing and (for the online 12th chapter) creation of “The Chaos Scenario.” This site is all about being a hub and community for all points of view about the future of media and marketing. When the next phase of the site is launched in a couple of weeks, that will be truer than ever. As a bonus, most of the reaction to my book and my ideas has been thoroughly positive — here, on Amazon.com, in the blogosphere and in the Twitter-sphere.
So, then, why do I absolutely SEETHE whenever I see a post that fails to do my thinking justice. This phrase was in the lead paragraph of a blog post that appeared in Ad Age this week:
“Truth is, these kind of debates bore me to death. Bob Garfield’s “The Chaos Scenario” book certainly feels like talking about the future while looking at the rear mirror….”
The writer says “feels,” because she hasn’t read one single word of the book. And this infuriates me. How in the world can anybody premise an analysis — much less a blanket dismissal — on anything sight unseen? So I sent the author a nasty comment — something snarky about whether she’d used a Ouija board or what to get a “feel” for my 100,000-word text.
I felt better for a moment, but have I violated my own principle? You know, the one that says “listen, and shut up.”
I speak of new-media maven Paul Gillin, who has reviewed “The Chaos Scenario” and lavished it with praise.
Here’s a taste: “I devoured this book and was sorry to see it end. One reason: It is so much fun to read. Garfield is a gifted writer and he’s funny as hell.”
Bless your heart, Paul Gillin. I like the way you roll.
In “The Chaos Scenario” I spend a lot of time talking about what succeeds advertising as the principle means for connecting customers and brands. Me, I like utility.
The entertain/shock/grab-by-the-lapels formula served marketers pretty well in the advertising age, but the dynamics have changed. In the post-advertising age, all that stuff is a distraction, and easily avoided.
What the peeps still crave, though, is information – about brands, and about how to run their lives. It’s a subject I visit in some detail in Chapter 5, “The Widgetal Age.” But widgets are by no means the only means of supplying utility. What follows is an email to me by Team Chaos partner Rhonda Fabian of Fabian-Baber. She’s a maker of educational films, and what she has to say [edited slightly for space] is right to the point:
Here’s a bit of fodder if you are still interested in the idea of “brands as educators”. I have been asking the question “Can trusted brands be reliable providers of educational content?” for a couple years in chats and conferences. The reaction is always mixed, but the qualifier “trusted” seems to be the key.
At Fabian-Baber, our mission is to ‘create educational media for delivery across traditional and emerging distribution networks that improve education, advance better health, and enable social awareness by inspiring, informing, and connecting our learners with the resources they need, when and where they need them.’ Well, who better than multinational corporations to fund it? They have the reach, the deep pockets, and the need to engage consumers in meaningful and authentic ways that promote brand understanding and loyalty. Like, how do they not get that?
Plus – they are all scrambling to figure out how to make successful mobile apps that actually do something. Uh, duh?
Might be nice to list all the players and dollars needed to make a 30-second TV spot vs an educational video. (an instructional designer, a producer and about 1K per finished minute)
Scion – (you may have to hunt around a bit, but they have a number of DIY videos and how-tos, in addition to very cool lifestyle and art film initiatives
and this is just fun
Johnson and Johnson’s ‘Touching Bond’ series. A modest effort, but in the right direction.
They also educate nurses!
Rhonda also cited research from Cambridge University on what turns out to be the core of Listenomics: establishing ongoing relationships with the group formerly known as “the customer.” An excerpt:
“In this study, we seek to extend current thinking by presenting a model that examines the relative importance of customer education, participation and problem management in driving customer loyalty. To test the relationships between these variables, we use data collected from 1,268 clients of a global financial services firm. Overall, the results support the hypothesised model and show customer education to be the strongest determinant of client loyalty. Current findings provide implications for multi-product financial institutions that are of theoretical and practical interest alike.”
Two weeks ago, we reported that this site ranks 1,444,419th in web traffic worldwide. Ohmygod, that was sooooooo last August. We have since jumped nearly 300,000 places closer to our goal of being the 49,999th most visited website in the world.
We started at 3 million-plus, so we are more than halfway there. Dig around for your party hats and noisemakers. When we get there, this place is gonna ROCK.
The latest Amazon user review. Amazon has deleted brand and site references, but you’ll get the idea:
I first heard about the book on NPR while driving, and I had to slow down to hear the whole program, then I ordered the book immediately. I’m a middle school teacher with a fairly strong technology background; part of what I do with my students throughout the year is try to teach them to prepare for the future and filter the overload of information cascading at them every day. Garfield’s book is one of those that points out the obvious that we see every day and somehow we don’t see. For the first time in history, we aren’t evolving into the next communication stage–an era is ending and a new one beginning.
You will find some overlooked typos (ouch for an English teacher) which I was able to forgive because I knew that such a timely book had to be rushed to the presses with revisions occurring the whole time (which was confirmed when I got to the end of the book). I trust they’ll be corrected in future editions and immediately in Kindle.
This is one of those rare books (like Kelly Gallagher’s Readicide) that I didn’t just read, but experienced, constantly going to the Internet to check out his references and grabbing other people to share it. One site that I immediately shared at a conference that sent the teachers into a feeding frenzy was [...]
I’m also a researcher, and I’ve been amazed and grateful for all the resources that are now available online or at a reasonable rate; I constantly use my subscription to [...] and [...] not just for genealogy, but for access to all the primary documents housed there. I’ve wondered about the future of such resources and the implications of copyright.
As I read the book, I also pondered the shifting future of the publishing business, upon which Garfield only touched. The traditional model is for the struggling writer to find an agent or have extraordinarily good luck being pulled from the slush pile (all the unsolicited manuscripts publishers receive, amazingly the way Stephen King was discovered, lo, these many years ago at Doubleday). I’ve seen a shift in self-published novels, which used to be purely “vanity press,” being picked up by major publishing houses. With Julia and Julie, I saw a blog become a book and major movie. After reading Garfield’s book and seeing the success of Amazon’s Kindle (and, of course, other competitors entering the digital reading field) I began to wonder: one day, will the writer be able to upload his book file directly to a site such as Amazon with a description of the title, a $9.99 Kindle price tag, with 80% going to the author and 20% to Amazon? It would cut out the need for a literary agent or a publishing house. As Garfield describes it, the masses decide what they want–why not in book publishing? If the digital book sales prove popularity, the hard copy becomes available. It’s an exciting possibility, but also raises quality control questions–book editors earn their money for a reason.
His last chapter, “Nobody is Safe From Everybody,” is one that I will be discussing in some form with my middle schoolers at length. A few years ago I worked shortly at a school for “high-performing” students. It was the first time in my twenty years of teaching that two students who didn’t like turning in homework used their MySpace site to make death threats against me and my daughter. They then made death threats and sent hate mail to the student who reported them. To my astonishment, I and the student had no legal recourse. The state attorney general told me that Internet law has not caught up yet. Anyone could get a MySpace site and create it in someone else’s name, so they couldn’t bring criminal charges. All they could do was give the students ten days of out of school suspension. You can imagine my warm, toasty feelings when they returned to the classroom, and I had to teach them. This was before the Megan Meier’s case, so perhaps it has changed.
Bottom line: Garfield said he hopes everyone on the planet reads the book. So do I. We’ll be having some grand discussions which we absolutely need to stay afloat in the digital age.
My Q&A with Maclean’s magazine, the Canadian newsweekly.
From the inbox:
I’m head of mktg for ABC Family. I have, in the last day, gone from a long-time admirer of yours to a bona fide superfan. TCS is so great - the book that needed to be written and needs to be read. Wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry throughout. I was 20K words into a similar book myself, and now feel deflated like Salieri.
Speaking to my alma mater U of Texas on Friday, wherein I’ll be helping spike Austin sales of your book.
Congrats and Best Wishes.