The Power of New Media: Connecting Creators & Communities
Media is always evolving. Long gone are the days of discovering all of news through the local newspaper and news programs on television. While both of these are still viable sources for news, they make up a much smaller percentage of where people are finding information. Newspapers have been on the brink for the last decade, and many of those that survive have created a strong online presence that they have worked into their existing business model.
Many of you have probably heard the term new media, but you may not be sure what new media really is. New media encompasses a number of different forms of media that have emerged over the past decade. Some of the platforms that new media consists of include blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels (and other online video services), just to name a few. As Internet culture continues to evolve and new forms of technology emerge, this classification of new media will continue to grow.
Below I have compiled what I consider to be four of the best new media outlets that do a great job at both cultivating content, building active communities and engaging in innovative ways with their communities.
Philip DeFranco & SourceFed (YouTube, Blog):
Philip DeFranco has been the host of The Philip DeFranco Show (The PDS) since 2007. DeFranco creates a number of videos, centered around his daily show that talks about a little bit of everything, from commentary on world news to pop culture and beyond. SourceFed was started by DeFranco in 2012 as an extension of DeFranco Inc., primarily focusing around six regular hosts and a number of guests. Both DeFranco Inc. and SourceFed interact with their fans through the comments section of YouTube, their own subreddit on Reddit.com (/r/sourcefed), Twitter, and at a number of events throughout the year, from San Diego Comic-Con and VidCon to events they host such as DeFranco does Arizona (and other events throughout the US, Canada and beyond).
The Young Turks (YouTube, News Network):
The Young Turks is an online news show hosted by Ana Kasparian, Cenk Uygur and a variety of other hosts. They have a live show that is viewable through YouTube every weekday, and post a variety of content and other shows under the TYT umbrella. They are widely considered as the top viewed news program on the internet. Covering topics from politics to sports, pop culture and beyond, the Young Turks has something for everyone in terms of their programming lineup. They all do a great job of interacting with their online community, which has helped build their brand from a small startup to a powerhouse in the news industry.
The Solid Verbal (Podcast):
The Solid Verbal is a weekly podcast hosted by Dan Rubenstein and Ty Hildenbrandt. Their coverage of college football is top notch, and is one of the premier college football podcasts out there, with more than six years doing the program. Every week they have users call in to leave reactions and feedback to that weeks’ slate of games and shifts in the world of college football, the best of which are shared on the show. Both Ty and Dan are very active on social networks, and have no problems interacting with fans and talking shop. They also host various pools throughout the year to help further build their community, from a March Madness bracket to Bowl Season Pick ‘em Pools.
Nerdist (Podcast, Blog, YouTube):
Nerdist was started by Chris Hardwick as a Podcast and has grown into a full network of news and events. It has evolved into a new media empire, home to a number of Podcasts, YouTube shows and a wide range of blog content that cover every topic you could think of regarding to nerd culture. Nerdist has had a large following for quite some time, and their live events sell out very quickly based entirely around the community they have built on the web from the ground up. Hardwick has been in the entertainment industry for awhile, but is truly a pioneer in terms of creating a media empire entirely online.
But what is the benefit of choosing to follow new media? First and foremost, they get it. They understand the power of community and engage with their fans and followers in ways that either weren’t possible before the emergence of the Internet, or are simply too difficult to do on traditional media platforms.
New media is here to stay and while many traditional news outlets are trying to jump into these new territories, the individuals who innovated and pioneered their communities based around these new platforms are having the most success. A blog is not a newspaper and a YouTube channel is not a traditional news network, and thus the content does not translate directly over. There are subtle nuances to properly building communities online and leveraging existing communities to further your brand on the web.
We have seen individuals such as Philip DeFranco go from creating daily videos based around news commentary to being one of the faces of an ever-growing movement online. If nothing else this is a testament to the power of new media and their communities and shows that the old ways of doing things in terms of the media aren’t the only way to succeed.
As technology continues to change and evolve, look for never forms of media to emerge. The ones who took the risks and utilized these emerging technologies years ago are now seeing the fruits of their labor come to fruition. You shouldn’t be afraid of leveraging these new platforms, because when utilized correctly they are the single strongest form of building a community behind your projects. Just remember, content is still king; online communities are more than happy to back something they believe in. Go out there and create something that will take the world by storm!
What are your favorite new media creators? Have a podcast or YouTube channel you want to introduce the world to? Share it in the comments below!