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« The Parenting CGM Megaphone | Main | In Defense of Consumer Generated Media »

September 21, 2005


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yes- good article. "CGM" is a marketer's term for the phenomenon described. But i don't like the term immedia either (it's a bit too cute for me). I understand the point--CGM is not accurate for all forms of this stuff, and doesn't capture the user/creator experience. but "consumers" who "generate media" don't need labels for their activity--the labels are essentially for marketers. if a term like immedia helps some marketers to better understand the nature of this material, great...but i think CGM is more descriptive for most marketing audiences.

i'd use "people making stuff" but PMS is already taken.

ok, now i have more time and i'm going to take another crack at this...

I've got problems with this piece. Problems that stem from BlogAds.

But the early thrust of Henry Copeland's piece is on target--CGM is a marketing industry term that does not accurately describe the creative online experience of millions of people. He is spot on with quotes like this:

"Companies that insist on ignoring the mutation of mediated consumers into immediate participants are blind to the future, not just of marketing, but of their own markets."

But dickering over the proper term for this is an acedemic exercise...I am reminded of the old Zen story about not confusing the finger pointing at the moon for the moon. By this I mean: call these social media phenomena what you want, but the lived experience of them is what counts. Non-industry people don't need to be told that what they're doing online is exciting and vibrant. CGM (as a term) is a better descriptor (to differentiate from commercially generated media) than immedia.

Besides defining terms and coining new ones, Mr. Copeland has another agenda: selling ad space on blogs. It's no surprise then that things get further off track when he quibbles with the M of CGM:

"Mediation means bridging a space between you and me, him and her. But we're all connecting directly now. Who needs a corporate bridge when all this new stuff is inside the same vibrant space, unmediated and immediate?"

He's wearing his consumer hat there...but the mediation we're talking about (as marketers) is not person to's between marketer and person. Mr Copeland glosses this over in his enthusiasm for blogs. If we don't need a corporate bridge, why do we need BlogAds?

Here's the problem: BlogAds suck. They suck because they wrap this great vital thing Mr Copeland loves in interruptive, un-asked for ads.

"No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and so are the skins."

He is correct: "immedia" is new wine, but the old skin is not "CGM", rather it is un-asked for advertising. And wait a minute...let's back up. Remember that first quote? The one that said "Companies that insist on ignoring the mutation of mediated consumers into immediate participants are blind to the future..."? Wouldn't "mediated consumers" be ones that are forced to see BlogAds? Isn't BlogAds blind to the future?

Problems and all, I like this piece. He's got good stuff to say--he just doesn't go far enough. Consumers who are active participants (immediators?) and interested in marketing/advertising material will seek it out (or make it) on their own. They'll be interested in events, sponsorships, bzzagent. They will be open to marketing messages they WANT to hear. Targeted or not, BlogAds is old news.

Owen: Very well said. I just posted on this (in the trackbacks above) and I wish I had waited to read you comments - I would have quoted you. Quite cogent.

I picked up on the marketer-consumer thing a bit and agree with you completely on this.


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