Why Must We Confuse Technology With Media?

The Bloggers are aflame again with the latest round of rants again Pay Per Post. While I understand the arguments against the company and their approach, someone needs to speak up and speak some sense into it all. We’re just starting to sound a little silly here.

The PayPerPost issue is about disclosure. Disclosure is a good thing and many will want to use it to their advantage.

Sometimes disclosure is obvious and doesn’t need to be stated. No, I don’t let Google put links on my site just cause I like ’em (that “Ads By Google” text really should have tipped you off). Yes, that book I wrote, they send me what are called “royalty checks.” And by the way, in that book when I talk about Podcasts or Podcast services I’m involved with – yes, I’m going to be pretty happy with them.

Sometimes disclosure isn’t obvious and therefore a smart move. I am being compensated for my time on the board of advisors for that company – but it wasn’t the first offer – and I only joined because I like the product so much.

Again, the argument about PayPerPost is about disclosure – another topic all together. But a lot of people don’t get that yet. Many make it an argument about the technology they choose not to disclose on. This rant is about how people confuse technology with media – and the danger it is doing.

Repeat after me … Technology Is Not Media.

Use of blog software does not make someone a blogger. It makes them someone who uses blogs.

Cali Lewis uses WordPress as a scheduling system for herself. If it works for her, great. Personally it seems like a lot more work than it needs to be – but that’s just me. Should I be complaining online that she isn’t using the technology for what it was “meant” to be used for – or should I be intrigued that she is using technology to make her life better?

From Information Week

Both Jarvis and Weinberger stressed that blogging is a conversation.

No it isn’t. Blogging is a form of online publishing (often through a Web interface) that often utilizes RSS. There is a new media of blogs that have been empowered by the technology of blogging – but they are not exclusive of each other.

Yes, there are some exciting new media types would could haven’t launched without blogs. They just saw how cool the technology was and decided to leverage it too!

Jason Calacanis used his blog to announce a free conference that is going to get him a huge chunk of change in free publicity. Was it an ad? Of course it was. Jason’s brilliant at getting buzz publicity. And this is just his latest. Good for Jason.

Might this announcement cause a conversation? Of course it will. But that wasn’t why he did it. He did it because he needed to let his audience know that he’s launching a conference. This was blog as announcement engine because he doesn’t have a mailing list.

From Blog Herald

But isn’t a blog clearly a publication, and therefore isn’t a clearly labled paid post equivalent to a host thanking a sponsor on a video/TV program or an advertorial in a magazine?

No, a blog is a software program that a publication might use.

See, the real power is what people print/publish with the blog technology … not the blog technology.

Use of Podcast technology to deliver content does not make someone a Podcaster, it makes them someone who leverages Podcast technology.

When the Queen of England’s Christmas speech was delivered by Podcast, I will bet you millions that the gal didn’t sit in front of a USB mic recording the thing into Audacity not worrying about levels because she could shoot it through the Levelator later. Someone she employs said “Heck, we already got this speech, let’s shoot it down this pipe too!” Yes, I’m sure those were the exact words.

Is the Queen a Podcaster? Yes. Does she know she’s a Podcaster? Probably not.

And guess what, it don’t matter.

I helped my co-author deliver his Teleseminar Secrets Class via secure RSS. He talks into a phone – the next day it comes to a few hundred students via Podcast technology. It is a Podcast? Sure. Does it matter? No. Is he selling more tickets because he can make the promise that the class is live Monday nights via the phone or tape delayed the next morning via Podcast? Yes.

The lines blur when you confuse technology with media.

When CNN airs a clip from the President’s Radio Broadcast with a picture of the President superimposed, does that suddenly make it a “Video Broadcast?” Of course not, it makes it, repeat after me, a clip from the President’s Radio Broadcast with a picture of the President superimposed.

When someone uses blog technology to do something other than what the blogging masses think they should do with it, that has to be o.k.

I understand how dear technology can be to our hearts.

If someone uses technology near and dear to your heart – because of what that technology has allowed you to do – it’s o.k. That doesn’t make them a bad person, that just makes them different than you. There are a few billion others on this planet who are different than you as well. I’m surprised the Internet hasn’t taught you that already.

If someone publishes a blog or a Podcast that doesn’t match your definition – or if they use the tech to do something outside of the box … that’s o.k. too.

Don’t confuse the technology with the media.

It isn’t that PayPerPost is using blogs to trick people. It is that PayPerPost is trying to trick people.

It isn’t that disclosure should be required by law – it’s that when someone has fully discloses themselves, you don’t have to worry about where they are “coming from.”

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.audioexpansion.com/blog Dan Dashnaw

    Great Post, Paul…

    I agree fully with everything you stated, and have found myself ranting about the exact same thing approximately 5 times in the last two weeks. Great clarification for the sea of under-informed techno-media-blenders. =]

  • http://www.localsitesfor.com/ Kelly

    I had to laugh when I read this! You’re so right. When I use RSS it doesn’t make me an “RSSer”, its just technology. For me, blog software makes an awesome content management system and when done right, can make a pretty impressive website (that doesn’t even look like a blog).

    I do have a question though – if I call something a “blog” is it implied that it’s a “conversation” ? I’ve veering off your point a little, but curious – separate from the technology – if people at large infer something specific from the term “blog”…

    So, for example, if I don’t allow comments should I not say “blog”? What if I use my blog technology for my newsletters, posting coupons for customers, doing press releases… should I call it something other than “blog”?

  • http://www.paulcolligan.com Paul Colligan

    Kelly, say whatever you want. Call it whatever you want.

    Just leverage the technology.

    Here’s my suggestion – as you can see here – the conversation is often a good thing so leaving the comments open so that people can ask questions, etc. I can’t recommend that enough.

    Do consider opening up comments.

    Just remember, if you use email, you are a Popper. If you send email, you’re an SMTPer. Etc. The list could go on forever.

  • http://www.webomatica.com/wordpress/ Webomatica

    Hmmm, good point. But now I’m thinking about how Email is a technology, but it’s used by spammers. While I can separate the disingenuous use of email from the legitimate uses and not blame “email” as a technology, you can’t deny that there’s a critical point where I’m getting 100 spam emails for every one genuine email that could conceivably ruin the whole point of email, and cause me to shun the technology. Imagine if you got 100 solicitation phone calls for every one legitimate phone call. There are laws such as no call set up to stop this. I only wish there were a no spam email law, too.

    I’m not saying blogging and payperpost is anywhere near this point, just to mention that technology can definitely be marred by overexuberant folks just operating under the banner of marketing.

  • http://www.paulcolligan.com Paul Colligan

    Good point on the spam thing.

    I would say that the difference with spam, junk faxing, junk mail, etc., is that it takes time away from me that I didn’t get you time to take.

    Do something to me without my permission and I get really angry. I don’t care what technology is used.

    If someone is mailing a list on a regular basis to a batch of people who have asked to be emailed – I say all the more power.


  • http://www.wiredprworks.com Barbara Rozgonyi

    Hi Paul:

    Great post on differentiating the difference between what you use and how you use it.

    As you point out in your examples, blog/RSS/podcasting technology is defined by the user’s needs – whether it’s to schedule, promote, report, feed, track, teach, sell or carry on a conversation.

    At my blog, it’s mostly a one-sided conversation. So, that’s not really my main purpose.

    But, I have realized some unexpected benefits of blogging: tracking search engine terms, posting news and finding that sometimes my posts outrank the distribution service releases, adding to my own Google results, testing response to articles, going out on Google Alerts, generating new subscribers, building an online PR and marketing reference center, and getting favorable feedback on my writing and photos.

    As with most anything, the more you use technology, the more [and your audience] get out of it. And, the better the content, the richer the user experience.

    Thanks for being a thought leader – looking forward to reading what you’ll come up with next ~

    Barbara Rozgonyi

  • http://www.geekbrief.tv Neal Campbell

    Blog software, beyond all the other things it does, is just a database interface. It’s good to take advantage of that power.

  • http://www.paulcolligan.com Paul Colligan


    Exactly sir.

    Can’t wait to catch Cali tomorrow.