In 2009, I was one of three people invited to teach the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette how to use Twitter.
At the end of that session — in a room filled with skeptical reporters who seemed sure that Twitter was either useless, the devil, or both — we offered to help anyone who didn’t already have an account to set one up.
We had one taker.
Fast forward a few years and things have changed.
They always do.
A year or two before that, I was invited to speak to a media class at Point Park University about my web series, Something to Be Desired. At the end of our talk, one student — an aspiring journalist — asked us if we ever blogged. I said I did. She explained that she didn’t understand why anyone would ever blog. Her teachers were pretty convinced that blogs were either useless, the devil, or both.
And yet here were are today.
I mention this not because I hate newspapers, or because I think new technology is automatically “better” than old technology.
I mention this because you have a choice.
Technology is always changing. So are the ways people choose to receive information. What we needed yesterday and how we could get it is different from what we’ll need, want, or be able to do tomorrow.
If you’re in the business of communication — and we all are — and you dismiss new technologies as irrelevant, that means you’re hoping nothing will change.
But things always change.
No one looks at the status quo and says, “Yes, always this forever.”
20 years ago, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette only had to compete against the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Today, they have to compete with Apple.
Ten years from now, we’ll probably be having this exact same discussion on a platform that doesn’t even exist yet — one that some people will surely be dismissing as useless, the devil, or both.
And yet, between now and then, jobs will be lost (and created) and millions of dollars will be wasted (and earned) by people who doubt (or believe) that user behavior will change yet again.
Getting attached to HOW divorces you from WHY.
People need information. They don’t need newspapers.
People love music. They don’t love file formats.
People want to be connected. They don’t care how.