Once Upon a Time There Was This New Thing...
Once upon a time not too long ago, a great power reigned within the world of communication. The rulers of this powerful world were profitable, growing, broad, massive and in control of the method of distribution...it was the Kingdom of Publishing.
The Kingdom of Publishing was a happy and safe land. Within its secure borders and with a warm feeling in its heart, the Kingdom did not see the rise from within of economic distress, mass migration and the paper burning snake-like dragon housed within the homes of its very subjects—the consumer, the customer, the people.
The appearance of the dragon brought terror to the hearts of those who ruled while providing joy, pleasure and freedom to those who lived within the border of the once peaceful Kingdom. Like the mystical creature known as Janus, this was no normal dragon snake, for it had one head and two faces. One face was viscous, paper burning, destructive; and the second face was the benevolent, freedom-loving extension of community.
That dragon snake became known as the Internet, with a capital I.
At first, the rulers of the Kingdom did not know what to do. Decline, ruin and failure were the trends of the day. Newspaper after newspaper, magazine after magazine, and even the world of print itself seemed doomed.
But among those antiquated rulers were wise members of the ruling class. These wise ones believed that the dragon snake and its evil cohorts—the blogger, the e-newsletter, social networking, free access and many others—could be partners, friends. The dragon’s fire could be used to provide the clearing of the previous rotting harvest. The evil cohorts could become clarions of the message, and the gates of the Kingdom could be fitted with tollbooths.
The Kingdom needed a champion, a hero, a knight in shinning glass, high-resolution screen amour and the ability to talk in many tongues.
As doom darkened the sky, fire from the Internet dragon charred the paper walls of the Kingdom and the knight appeared. At first the knight was laughed at, called names and dismissed. Yet the knight grew and grew from the small pocket-sized knight known as Sir Smartphone to the massive and powerful knight Sir Tablet.
Sir Tablet came with an army of supporters, a set of knights of the rounded WiFi table of life. Sir Apple, Sir Broad Band, Sir Google, Sir Yahoo, Sir Microsoft and others, all equipped with tools NOT to slay, praise or kneel before the beast, no the Knights of the Realm of Media Convergence came to train, control, mold and sculpt the dragon into an ally, friend, a partner.
The leading knight, Sir iPad, defined and challenged the beast. Each time the beast of the Internet spewed fire at the tablet, its magical developer Apple and key Sorcerer Steve Jobs challenged that attack with a response that sent the dragon snake fleeing, licking its wounds and wondering if the Internet was no longer boss.
Soon Sir Xoom, Sir Galaxy and Sir Streak joined Sir iPad. The knights—now over 70 strong—even brought with them a set of valets know the e-reader, apps, super apps, QR codes, SMS and much more. These knights in training brought support and great interest to the field of battle; they brought personality, ownership, comments, relevance, interaction, integration, dialogue and, perhaps the most needed of all, positive ROI.
The Kingdom of Publishing and its neighbors—the Kingdom of Print and the Land of the Book—at first ran from the tablet, faster and further than from the dragon. It was when the people left the safety of the Kingdom’s wall and migrated in greater numbers to the open fields of the community countryside that the rulers realized that the once evil and destructive dragon should become a beloved pet, the official Dragon of the Kingdom. It should be an ally that provides the rulers with the fruits of profit, growth, expansion, peace and innovative ideas, as well as being the future of its enterprise.
Slowly, leaders come to the forefront. Magicians like Esquire, Google, The Onion, XMpie, Self Publishing and Book Stores formed alliances with the dragon and, soon, peace and profits were the common thought of the day.
Is this a lame attempt at providing a description of the tablet revolution to date or a pretty real assessment of the current trends of the many kingdoms mentioned? Your call.
That’s the bottom line, and it was clearly seen at last week’s Publishing Business Conference and Expo held in New York City. The event was organized by Book Business and Publishing Executive magazines, both titles of the innovative Kingdom of NAPCO (North American Publishing Co.) and supported by more than 70 exhibitors and over 100 speakers.
When you look at this industry as a growing child being educated, you will begin to see that the response contained in the above fairy tale was not and is not a negative comment. In fact, if the Internet as is considered by some to be in the fifth generation or fifth grade of the industry’s “education life,” the world of Publishing is in pre-school with regard to its use of these new technological tools. If that is the case, then the worlds of publishing, book and print have done pretty well...pretty well indeed.
The keynote speaker at the Publishing Business Conference and Expo was the Universal King of the Realm, David Granger; we kneel before you oh mighty one. His mantra was “Everything is Possible” and King David provided proof of this statement in his excellent, expletive-ridden presentation. He offered a fresh, novel and I believe profitable approach to the needs of media convergence, the publishing empire and its future.
Leaders like David are rare, and the worlds of Book Publishing and Print need a person like him badly. He explained that everything is possible if you keep change on the watchtowers of the kingdoms wall, not hidden in the deepest castle keep. David implied that a more formal partnership of editorial, creative, advertising and the advertiser is needed. Creative and innovative thinking is no longer owned by the world of the advertising agency; that was gone long ago.
The current agency model is next to undergo a radical change, which has already started. Can Agencies see the future, as did Publishing? I doubt it.
The Queen of the Realm would be her royal editorship Noelle Skodzinski, whose endless support of the speakers, the attendees and the exhibitors made this “new” (not really) event the success it deserved to be. I felt that at times the magicians of the event cloned her, since no mortal woman could be in so many places at the same time.
My complement to these true Knights of Industry, for they will lead the way, chart the course and navigate the shoals of the ever changing business waters to the new continent of Media Convergence. The next call, Land Ho!
Tablets, in particular the iPad of which I have become a loyal subject, are the tools of change that provide a better way to define media convergence then the dictionary. If media convergence is defined as the integration of computer technology, content and communications, well the new definition of media convergence should be simple—the tablet, in particular the iPad.
Need proof of that definition? Go to an Apple, ATT or Verizon Website or store and view or play with a tablet. A tablet is not a computer; it is a mobile link, the first true media convergence device linked to the cloud and one that provides the final, and very important, needed link to those that fled the various Kingdoms and are now returning—the consumer.
What is truly exciting is that the tablet is not the end, not the last knight. There will be new and more diverse and talented knights to come; it cannot be other then so. With the collaboration of the Kingdoms of old and the Kingdoms of new, a greater force is still to be reckoned with.
I don’t consider myself a knight, but more of a sorcerers apprentice, for I hold the ability in the grey matter of my brain, the pumping of my heart and the desires of my wallet to use these tools and sit next to dragon and pet its thorny, but friendly, head. While one hand is touching the head of the beast, the other will have ready a kabob of meats and veggies to use and take full advantage of the fire that the dragon will expel.
Need to look the beast in the eye with me? Let me know: email@example.com or (917) 597-1891.
Thad Kubis is an unconventional storyteller, offering a confused marketplace a series of proven, valid, integrated marketing/communication solutions. He designs B2B or B2C experiential stories founded on Omni-Channel applications, featuring demographic/target audience relevance, integration, interaction, and performance analytics and program metrics.