Thursday, June 17, 2010

Getting The Information Across (Part One)

A bit of rumination on the art of selling.

To start, let's take a look inside the realm of social media as it applies to the gathering and dissemination of news. When blogging first came to be a known quantity in 2000-2002, it was customary for traditional media, both individually and collectively, to dismiss it as a playground for amateurs. Jonathan Klein, who at the time was an executive with CBS News and is currently president of CNN's American division, made this comment: "... you couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances, and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing what he thinks."

Unfortunately for Mr. Klein, shortly after he made this statement CBS News was caught in a falsehood by bloggers. They noticed typewritten documents CBS was showing in a story on 60 Minutes, allegedly from the early 1970s and purporting to be a record of then President Bush's military service, could not have been created during the time period to which they were assigned, as the font face and formatting were unavailable on any typewriter in existence. In fact, what was shown mirrored exactly the default settings for Microsoft Word, which debuted in 1983. Despite CBS' insistence that the documents were real, and the New York Times calling them in a headline "fake but accurate," eventually several people at CBS lost their jobs due to the brouhaha generated by the story.

This and similar incidents notwithstanding, while blogs have gained at least a foothold and grudging respect from traditional media, in the public eye they're... well, not in the public eye. Even the most popular political blogs receive but a minuscule fraction of the number of visitors sites such as CNN and FOX News' websites receive. When it comes to getting the news online, the overwhelming majority of people automatically go to the source. This is as opposed to heading for blogs offering snippets of stories from said sources, along with commentary.

And this all has exactly what to do with selling and/or servicing an insurance policy, you ask? Tune in next Tuesday to find out.

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