Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - The Future of We Media

« Press Statement Misses Target | Main | Social Media as Lead Generation Tool »



Thank you so much for offering your thoughts. As you know, I have been following your work for some time. This line in your 1997 article was particularly stimulating to my thought process:

"By redefining the way we think and write, this new structure redefines all of our culture. I agree with New York sociologist Neil Postman that

New technologies alter the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter the character of our symbols: the things we think with. And they alter the nature of community: the arena in which thoughts develop."

We are probably starting to think liquid as PR and social media consultant Geoff Livingston defined it. You ended with:

"So as a journalist what I believe our first and most urgent task ahead is to create the appropriate language to describe - thus to understand - the digital revolution. Recognizing that it is not only about microprocessors and fiber optic cable, but above all about brains connecting to other brains, about collective intelligence. A human, political and cultural endeavor."

I will be thinking about that article and your comment to continue the conversation is a subsequent post. Thank you for your contribution and for leading the conversation.


The projected greater spend for online advertising shows that the ability to track intended recipient better is not lost on advertisers. As I discussed elsewhere, there is still a need to figure out how we (citizens, readers, even content producers) can afford in depth news coverage of the kind Bruno Giussani talks about in his remarks here.

Our media consumption habits influence the decisions that are being made, even though we may not be completely aware of it.

Good post Valeria, and thanks for the mention -- and for the reminder of the absurd way established media looked at blogs just 5 years ago.

I agree with pretty much everything you wrote (I actually wrote something that could fit right into your column back in 1997 already: "The role of the journalist is changing into a more central figure, a mediator. He directs traffic, explores, becomes a facilitator of discussions. His new power will depend on his ability to animate a group of people, to develop methods and means to enliven the community, to organize information-gathering and use with the participation of the members of the community." )

Truth is, we're in an era of hybridization of media, and that goes two-ways. Newspapers and magazines and broadcasters have been opening up to everything form blogging to crowdsourcing. Conversely, many blogs have become almost traditional media (in terms of business model and structure -- take Gawker, or DailyKos, or TalkingPointMemo: they have more flexibility and smaller overhead, but they're basically traditional publishers) and it's telling that of the three examples you mention, David and Steve work for communication firms and John is a consultant and speaker, ie they derive their paycheck from sources other than journalism. They do "journalism on the side", including their columns for AdAge etc. Those are great additions to the conversation, but aren't necessarily great additions to journalism, in particular to the journalism that a democracy needs to function -- long reporting, researching, travelling, taking risks, exposing corruption and lies, going up against established powers, etc. Sure, everybody can make a long list of examples of bloggers doing some of this work (from the Dan Rather story to the AG scandal to local happenings) and a similarly long list of established media with lots of resources screwing it up (NYT on Iraq, just to mention one). But still the key question remains: how will the necessary journalism be organized and be paid for in the future? The best journalism on TV today is either paid for by the public through mandatory fees (BBC) or paid for by philanthropic and corporate-social-responsibility money (Bill Moyers on PBS): is that the model of the future?

A second caveat is: while all you write applies perfectly to the US media landscape, it doesn't necessarily apply to the rest of the world, where media habits, market structures, and roles are different. In many African countries, the best journalism today is often done by bloggers -- because they have a space for freedom that newspapers don't (it's easier to shut down a printing plant: read the difficulties Andrew Mwenda encountered trying to print his newspaper: ).

In Europe, newspapers' and magazines' sites dominate the online space and conversation (with the possible exception of Italy, where has emerged as a major political force, mostly because television news has turned into irrelevant political banter and most newspapers are going the same way).

The comments to this entry are closed.

Conversation Agent

  • Since 2006, Conversation Agent focuses on the impact of technology in business, culture, and human behavior. At Conversation Agent LLC, I help organizations and brands develop and communicate their full business / product value consistently.


As seen on

Advisory Boards

Marketing that makes business sense


Book Reviews

  • Conversation Agent participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. It provides a means for Conversation Agent to earn commissions by linking to Amazon.

Comment Policy and Social Guidelines

  • This is my blog and not a public space. Critical discourse is welcomed. However, inappropriate comments will be deleted. See my social guidelines for reference.


  • The opinions blogged herein represent only those of Valeria Maltoni and do not reflect those of her employer, persons or companies mentioned herein, or anyone else.