Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Accessory

It is time to talk plainly.

There comes a time in many relationships when one side must accept the fact the other side simply does not care. It is painful. It is undesirable. But it is a crystalline threshold which must be passed.

I do not speak of the Atlanta Journal Constitution or Creative Loafing. They were casual friends at best. Even as they stumbled online and dwindled on paper, they were always upfront that they never really considered us potential partners.

I speak of the new guys arriving at the dance.

A little over a year ago, I was approached by a quasi-traditional media company who wanted to create a nationwide network of blogs to cover the Presidential campaign. It was an exciting idea but there was barely any time and the idea was nebulous at best.

However, the players seemed sincere about melding "old" and "new" media and there was the small hope a real hybrid would emerge.

Using my knowledge of the online world and small reputation, I began recruiting bloggers across the nation. It was the usual promise of exposure and more traffic - the Tree of Knowledge fruit which lures us so easily. I dutifully submitted my lists of contacts and then waited for the next step which never came.

Soon, I realized the entire project was nothing more than a vanity vehicle and the dreams of something new and better had been cast aside for a shiny new toy.

At least they paid.

A few months ago, I was approached again.

Instead of an old company playing with new toys, this venture was a new company starting fresh. Hope kindled in the fact that not only had this new entity acquired an astounding array of talent but those in charge previously showed an understanding of new media. Their proposal was nothing less than blowing up then replacing the traditional distribution model for journalistic content.

And from the beginning they spoke of integrating new media voices.

Simply sitting in a room with generations of journalism experience and hearing them discuss publishing in terms developed, tweaked and pushed in previous blog conversations, panel discussions and fiery arguments was intoxicating. There was enough hope for a realization of an idea that I rushed home and immediately typed up all my thoughts, philosophies and weird ideas on how new and old could be blended.

It was received by the powers that be with much praise.

Then nothing.

Weeks passed. A follow-up was ignored. When this new organization stepped out into the limelight by breaking one of the fundamental rules of online life, I politely contacted them to explain the error. Still nothing.

There was no break-up letter. Not even the polite corporate-like "we've decided to go in another direction" missive. Just nothing.

The threshold was passed and the painful reality realized.

Those in the traditional media see us like a new leather jacket or new boots they acquire to blend in while venturing to the new hip part of town. Once they return home, the pajamas and slippers slide back on and the new duds are tossed in the back of the closet - perhaps never seen again.

The reality is they have never accepted us and they never will.

Each of us will confront this fact in our usual individual ways but my confrontation has passed and my own conclusion reached.

I will never be an accessory again.


Icarus said...

Kind of like answering an open call for a "Conservative Columnist" who can write 60% about GA Politics, and who has extensive experience with blogging?

It's a shame all the way around.

I was really looking forward to "My Morning Icarus".

But then I start thinking of the Movie "The Late Shift", about the battle to take over the Tonight Show between Leno and Letterman.

Late in the drama, NBC offered Letterman the show after Leno had taken over and was floundering. Dave wasn't sure what to do, so he flew to LA to meet with Carson. Johnny told him, "You can have 'The Tonight Show', but you can't have my show. That's what you want, and they've already given it away. It no longer exists." Letterman moved on to his own show at CBS.

So Grift, do you want the show that they already gave away and no longer exists, or do you want your own show?

rptrcub said...

You won't fool the children of the revolution.

John Rose said...

Can anyone tell me wtf this is all about?

griftdrift said...

John. What it's about is that no matter what we do and no matter how much they talk a good game, when it comes down to business, even those who would have you believe they are different only view us as "bloggers". That is the depth and breadth of their understanding. And what is worse that is as far as they are willing to go with their understanding. That is both angering and saddening.

Rusty said...

I've learned to charge for initial meetings for anything that has the slightest whiff of "consulting." That's weeded out all the people looking for free advice.

I don't charge for initial consultations for people who are hitting me up for web dev work, but I generally know those people are serious ahead of time.

Unknown said...

Maybe they see you as a really big "Letters To The Editors"

or a more explicit "Vent"

either way, I think they don't like bloggers because you keep running circles around them.

Unknown said...

aren't "accessories" in a relationship illegal in GA?"