Archives for April 2012

Is Hard Copy Media Dying Out?

Looking at industry sales figures, there seems to be one thing it’s safe to conclude: digital distribution isn’t going anywhere. More and more, consumers are turning to electronic copies of media they once plucked from shelves.

With the burgeoning popularity of the iPad and other tablets, e-readers such as the Kindle and Nook, and the wide array of smartphones on offer today, we are constantly being provided with new, modern and exciting methods of consuming media. Today, most major magazines and publications now have online editions available for download (with some actually charging for this service, just as they do with hard paper copies) and most novels are available in formats for making them accessible on tablets, e-readers and smartphones. And yet, despite this recent leaning towards digital media, many supporters of traditional print media would argue trenchantly that, regardless of this rapid development and growth in the digital arena, electronic media has not, will not fill the shoes of the hard copy.


Why is print media suffering?

In today’s world, where we expect everything to be instantaneous and where we expect products to be at our doors the next day, the print media is slower and less convenient than digital media and this is just one of the reasons why so many people are turning digital for their written word. With print media, we have to make a physical purchase – we must visit a shop, take money with us, look through book shelves and find the book / magazine / newspaper we’re after. With digital we can set automatic downloads, we can read on the go, we can store our books in a compact piece of technology (instead of a bulky book), we can purchase multiple items within minutes and we can save our credit card details for easy recurrent payment. With perks like this to outweigh the tradition print media, what (if anything) is keeping the traditional print media alive?

Many people who have grown up with traditional print media are adamant not to change – are most likely the people keeping the print industry alive and kicking. As much as sales may have dropped in print media and many digital industry specialists will argue that the print industry is slowly dying, there are just as many who will argue that the print industry will remain strong so long as people keep investing in books and magazines, etc. Many individuals find it bizarre to imagine a world without hard copies and without book shelves full of old dusting books – replaced instead by a single Kindle upon the bed side table.


So what are the key players, if digital does take over print media?

Well of course, as mentioned – the Kindle and other technologies such as the iPhone and iPad are a huge reason for the success and growth of digital copies. The portability and convenience of these items mean that they are great alternative to bigger and bulkier hard copies such as books and newspapers. The internet is also a key player – the internet is a huge online forum for information access and means all information is easier to find, easier to access and easier to share; much easier than searching through a library or bookshop – and much less time consuming.

What other reasons might contribute to the decline of print media?

Another huge reason the print media may being seeing a steep decline is lack of advertising. Many smaller magazines have had to close or be bought out – simply because advertisers are find more savvy ways of marketing and advertising (and most of this is online). Marketing divisions of companies that previously advertised in print media are seeing great amounts of online traffic, online sales and online publicity on the rise – and so it seems that they think money would be better spent here than in print media which is on the decline.

This has been a guest post from Liam

Who Owns a Hashtag? A Look at Twitter Legalities

Twitter is a relatively new addition to the Internet, so many people have not considered the ways that the social media site is affected by the law. To begin with, since the site is so new, precedent is usually being set as cases are brought to court. This obviously creates a lot of murkiness in terms of the way that cases will go until they are decided for the first time. However, there are a few common issues that come up on any social media site, and from these occurrences we can see where the law relates to Twitter.

To begin with, does the person who creates a Twitter hashtag have ownership of it? The answer for the most part is no. There are a variety of ways that hashtags can be subverted from their original intention. The most common reason is due to duplicate or similar names, and this is clearly not malicious. Actors and actresses share the same name as a lot of non celebrities, and many band names are similar to or the same as a variety of products and items in day to day life, such as the bands Blur and Garbage.

hashtag © by danielmoyle

Occasionally a Twitter hashtag hijack will occur. This happens when a group of people whom are unhappy with a company or person or band, and creates a large amount of tweets filled with negative comments and references the hashtag. One recent example of this occurred when McDonald’s created the #McDStories hashtag, which the company expected to generate a flood of tweets describing good memories while eating at their fast food chain. However, the actual results ended up being a large amount of negative tweets about the restaurant.

So what can a company do when they are hashtag hijacked? Unfortunately, the answer is very little to nothing. While McDonald’s could sue individuals for defamation or slander, the negative press that would result would be worse than their Twitter issues. Additionally, since there are a large number of people creating these tweets, suing one person, even if they did succeed, would have a negligible effect.

On the other hand, there are some types of tweets that can have legal ramifications. Tweets that threaten people are taken as seriously as a threatening phone call or letter. There have been a variety of cases where tweets to celebrities or particular individuals were looked into by law enforcement. One recent example of this occurred when Taylor Armstrong, of the TV show Real Housewives, received a string of direct tweets threatening to kidnap her and her daughter. In that case law enforcement did track down the person responsible for the threatening tweets.

Another way that Twitter can get people in hot water is when they tweet about things related to court matters. For instance, many people who were arrested during the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests tweeted that they were expecting to be taken to jail. When they went to court, they found that their tweets were being used to prove that they intended to be arrested, preventing them from arguing that they were wrongfully arrested or that they were not aware that their activities were against the law.

In many cases there is little that a large company can do legally as recourse against negative or damaging tweets. On the other hand, it is important to self filter when posting on social media sites because there are a variety of instances where people can find themselves in hot water due to what they have said on the internet.

This has been a guest post from Sam. Sam is an Internet marketer and blogger who also frequently contributes to Quick Sprout, a digital marketing agency.