Embrace the criticism

by Russ Hill on May 18, 2010

I ate dinner with some peers at LuxBar in Chicago tonight (great steak by the way).

Surrounding the table was a bunch of new media people.  We talking developers and the like.  All of these new media types work in traditional media.  And, the conversation turned to comments.  Those of you who work with big name personalities in media know where this is going.

Several of the digital guys who are from various different cities around the country started talking to me about how traditional media personalities have become so upset by negative comments that people are making on their websites that they’re considering turning off the ability to make comments on their sites.

Are you kidding me?

I know this issue is wide spread.  It happens everywhere.  Traditional media personalities decide to read some of the comments listeners or viewers have made on their station’s website and all of sudden they get angry and their instant reaction is “can’t we turn this thing off?”

Let me get this straight.  So, Mr. Big Market Media Guy, it’s okay for you to criticize others and take politicians or business leaders to task in front of your audience of 100k+, but one loser posts a hateful comment on your blog and you want to yank the keyboards out of everyone’s hands.

I talk often about “going to where the money is.”  As I evaluate my time I make sure most of it is spent “where the money is.”  In other words, I don’t want to waste my time building products that drew big money yesterday or today.  I want to build products that are going to attract significant dollars in the future.

The center of the universe is moving away from traditional media properties.  The personalities on these legacy platforms who are going to grow their profile and their paychecks in the future are the ones who are able to build significant followings in the digital space.  In order to do that these same personalities are going to have to fully embrace that they aren’t the only ones holding the microphone or camera anymore.  In fact, the personalities with the greatest digital potential are those who share the mic/camera.

So, here are the options.  Embrace the fact that people are talking about you.  Or, become irrelevant.  No one likes to read critical things posted about them online.  But, next time any of you traditional media personalities stand up at your desk in order to head towards the new media director’s office, do yourself a favor.  Sit your butt back down.  And, embrace the fact that people are talking about you.

Oh, and by the way… if you’re ever in Chicago and want a great desert stop by the LuxBar.  Take a load of this carrot cake.  Have you ever seen a dessert so large?  Wow.

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