This week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, addressed the Newspaper Association of America and dealt with the criticism of the newspaper industry against Google and the whole online news industry.
Before Schmidt’s address, Jeff Jarvis, journalism professor, wrote a hypothetical address to the members of the Newspaper Association about what is now accepted to be a crisis in the newspaper industry in the USA.
Jarvis’ “address” should be compulsory reading for journalists all over the world. He quotes a university student who, a year ago, said: “If the news is that important, it will find me” and he advises the newspaper owners and publishers: “Two years, even a year ago, I would have said that you had time to build the networks and frameworks and platforms that would support the ecosystem of news that will come next. The best thing some of you can do is get out of the way and make room for the next generation of net natives who understand this new economy and society and care about news and will reinvent it“
No, Jarvis’ address should be compulsory reading for everyone. Because, while some people try to re-invent the past to deal with new challenges, others are already reaping the benefits of the future, brought about by not being scared to be innovative – like the founders of Ambitionblog, a South African company who redefined the way in which people build their CV’s.
But while many wait for the expected downfall of the newspaper industry, their own industries are changing so fast that it is just a matter of time before they will be in the same situation.
Whatever industry you are in and whatever you thought you will be doing for the rest of your life, take stock and discover what entrepreneurs are already doing that may change your industry. But even more serious, what innovative people are doing that will change how you live your life and what your choices will be.
The world is changing and if you don’t change with it you will be left behind.
Every day I am astonished at how different I think compared to a mere 12 months ago. When I left journalism a year ago, I had an idea that I was going to do much of the same thing in a different way. Within a month (and a terrifyingly steep learning curve) I knew the world had changed while I was practising journalism. Now, 12 months later, the information website we planned, had exploded into a social media network represented on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Friendfeed. We build websites because small businesses could not afford the prices they were quoted and that denied them an on-line presence and we advise people on how to use social media in business.
Personally, my view of the world has also changed. I have my own social media network on Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Flickr, YouTube, Friendfeed and on this blog. Most important: I don’t see the world the way I saw it a year ago. Too much has happened and too much is still happening.
I know there are more people like me because I see them every day. I see how their perspective broadens as we talk about social media and I see how people of all ages adapt to new technology. I see how people are respected, not because of their age, but despite it. And I know that those who think in old ways, will not reap the benefits of the new world that is dawning on us.
I see how South Africans embrace social media such as Facebook, how it helps community organisations in Polokwane and how it amuses us. I know my community is changing and that people will not stop that change.
It is not only about how things change. It is more about how that change makes people think differently. And when people think differently, society takes a new direction.
We – me and you – have taken a new direction. May I not tell you in two years’ time “ The best thing some of you can do is get out of the way and make room for the next generation … “
BE the new generation!