In case you are joining us now, and missed the previous posts. We discussed the government’s role, the individuals, the entrepreneurs, the investors, and the communities’ role in shaping our tech community in greater South Florida. The last piece we need to touch upon is that of the media’s role in making the area stretching from Key West to Jupiter into a tech hub.
If you had asked me just a mere 6 months ago what I thought the role of the media was in transforming or participating in the future of the tech community, I would have told you their job was to get the heck out of the way and let us innovate on our own, that we didn’t need them or care about them.
Then again, a lot has changed in just 6 months. No, I am not retracting my previous statements about saving newspapers (some of my ideas are already being implemented, speaking of which, where is my consulting fee?). In the last six months we’ve seen the old media embrace digital and social tools to as best as they can so far. They haven’t fully figured out the whole puzzle yet, but they are trying in earnest to get it as quickly as possible. I mean six months ago if you told me the Miami Herald would be putting out an iPhone app or the New Times would have a dedicated tech blogger, I would have LMFAO.
Here we are though, at a juncture between old and new, so how do we get one to embrace the other. As members of the tech community we need to realize that despite our open disdain for “old media,” they have something we need from them: exposure. Depending on your role in new media, its hard to argue with the reach of old media. Now don’t get me wrong, this is definitely a two way street here, old media needs us (tech) to teach them, share with them, and help them adapt to well, us.
So what can we as techies do to help out old media whom we complain about not writing or covering things that interest us? Well we start by helping tap them into our stream. Every reporter, new media or old, needs sources, yet many of us in tech in South Florida don’t communicate our presence to old media. Just because your startup just launched and you blogged about it, doesn’t mean your grandma will find out about it in the paper. You have to inform people at the paper, tv, and radio stations about your new startup. Send them the links to your blog. Be your own PR person. Every newspaper, radio, and tv journalist is going to hate me for this, because they are all going to get floods of emails from the community, but in the end it will be worth it. Why? For the simple reason that the tech community will get exposure, and the media will get to cover something other than foreclosure and unemployment rates rising every week.
I’ve talked about the need for the techies to connect to the media folk, now we need the media to connect back. We need the media to embrace these tools the tech community has built and provided, because ultimately we all need each other.
I started writing this post in early September. Since then, there has been a huge surge in coverage of tech in South Florida, and many of these things I rant about aren’t as big an issue anymore, but I still felt it necessary to get my word out about them.