Is emerging media really emerging?

One might consider the title of this week’s post to be an obvious – even rhetorical – question.  But it isn’t.  In fact, it’s one that should rightfully be considered.  In a time when there are new media developments nearly every day, what is emerging one day might be old news the next.

But how do we even know what emerging media are? Let’s start with what they aren’t.  They aren’t media in the traditional sense.  By “traditional,” I mean media that are designed for one-way communication. While marketers send hundreds of messages through TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines, there is no opportunity for the consumer to provide immediate feedback.  This is where emerging media come in.  Emerging media – blogs, advergaming, social media, multimedia channels, etc. – allow for interaction and communication between many people at once.  They are emerging because they are up-and-coming and revolutionizing the way marketers and consumers communicate with one another.

The emerging media landscape is truly astounding. The infographic below illustrates the vast world of emerging media platforms.

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“But wait,” you think to yourself. “Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube aren’t new anymore. They can’t be called ‘emerging media.’”

You know something? You might be right.

So here we are at the question posed in this post’s title: “Is emerging media really emerging?” Well, that could depend on a number of variables.  However, one thing is true: Something that is new now won’t be new forever.  So if the word “emerging” implies that something is new, but channels like social media are losing their novelty, is there a better name for these media? Perhaps there is.

A better term for these media might be “dialogue media.”  Why? By definition, a “dialogue” is a conversation between two or more people, and that is exactly what these media are designed to foster. When people comment on social content, it is not simply to see if the keyboard works.  Rather, it is to voice an opinion that could forever change how marketers interact with their consumers.  As people get into discussions, they toss around ideas.  These ideas can make or break a brand, which makes online conversation so incredibly important.

So what will this blog cover? This blog will explore not only media that truly are new, but also the emerging trends among not-so-new media.  The purpose is to understand where marketing is now and where it will go.  Ultimately, this is defined by consumers.  They set the trends, and marketers follow in an effort to reach more people and form the strong bonds that lead to marketing success.

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