The Big Shift

A leading news reporter at Politico left recently to become Editor-in-chief at Buzzfeed. Politico is a success story in the world of digital-only news publications and it’s no accident that their people are in demand by competitors in the world of digital news.

Politico.com homepage

The secret to Politico’s success lies in their shift from the news to what people are saying about the news. The homepage is optimized for mobile devices and makes use of blogs. From their beginnings in 2007 Politico aligned itself with the emerging social zeitgeist.

Launched two years prior to Politico, Buzzfeed evokes the social Web more purely and seven years later finds itself at the epicenter of the big shift. The big shift is digital news deeply immersed in social-tech. The profile of the Buzzfeed homepage shows how kicked-up it is relative to Politico.

Buzzfeed.com homepage screenshot

Imagine a scene from a Fellini remake of The Front Page. Today rooms full of keyboard-banging bipeds monitor streaming real-time social feeds ranging from the sublime to the vulgar on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and myriad others. It stands in stark contrast to the quaint chaos of wise-guy gumshoes working phones and typewriters in the old movie version of a newsroom. Buzzfeed “journalists” repurpose riff-rants for viral replication in the primordial social stream. Capturing and repurposing the stream is a new commercial opportunity.

All forms of communication are being impacted by social technology—that’s the secret every small business needs to know. Today the story of your business is largely being written by people who don’t even know you. In light of the big shift, it’s not whether you engage with social but how.

The future is unstoppable but we can’t help wondering…is everybody so busy playing in the stream that their thinking has become all wet?

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