BlogWorld|Leo LaPorte |Future OF New Media Publishing

BlogWord Expo’s Friday opening keynote speaker, Leo Laporte covered the future of new media publishing tools.

This post is dedicated to Robyn Tippens [link with photo of Robyn Tippens presenting Leo Laporte with his Weblog Best Podcast Award] of MyBlogLog, whose enthusiasm for this presentation motivated me to get up, get going and get started early on Friday.

Read Leo Laporte’s BlogWorld recap

Anil Dash of Six Apart introduced Leo La Porte, host of The Tech Guy radio show, as a person who combines the voice of authority and the voice of approachability. He’s somebody who gets it and also cares that other people get it, too.

Notes from Leo’s presentation . . .

For the last few years, his audiences have been full of technology people, now they’re full of real people. He opened with Bob Dylan’s lyrics.

Something’s happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you Mister Jones? Bob Dylan

We don’t really know what’s going on here. The other Mr. Jones is the rest of the world, the vast majority of the world who doesn’t know what new media is. Those are the people we want to bring into the fold with blogging, podcasting and video. In the new medium of the Internet, radio/audio/twittering/, the thing that’s constant is the Internet itself.

Leo’s blogged for 6 years. He loves blogging, but he’s not a great blogger [that’s what he says]. What he really is is a podcaster, which is not a great word. The name is dead. The medium is vital and alive.

As a mainstream broadcaster, he does a TV show and has since 1992. Since 1991, he’s talked about technology exclusively. We’re changing the world.

He started putting his radio show on the Internet in 2001, doing Internet and chat rooms. Leo started putting audio on in 2004 when a 14-year-old kid called and told him about podcasting.

“This Week in Tech” came out in 2004 – a roundtable of people talking about technology. What’s new, what’s different, what’s exciting, really the premise for it. Now he does a dozen different podcasts.

Network reach is 470,000 people per month. It’s a big network and he’s always made more by asking for donations – getting $10K per month. Two terabytes/day ad agency is Podtrac. Will do twice that this year. Grows 50% each year for awhile.

The whole thing is done by two people. He rents a room in an old cottage. This is literally a cottage business. Uses skype for phone calls. The agency takes 25%, 25% goes to operating expenses, when there is revenue, everyone on the call shares the revenue.

Having a community is really important. In fact, it’s everything.

Book suggestion – download/read: "The Wealth of Networks" by Benkler

Old media, industrial media, is the distinction he makes with new media. In the old days, if you wanted to have a voice, you had to have a lot of money. Today, the mainstream media isn’t good in describing what’s important. We’re now in a revolutionary state. All you need is a computer to have a voice. There are 1 million people worldwide, which has completely changed everything. One-fourth of Leo’s listeners are outside of the US. He takes 25% off of the numbers for advertisers who only want to pay for US listeners. It’s global, cheap to do, and everyone can have a voice. It’s no longer a one-way conversation.

Bloggers and podcasters know it’s about the 2-way conversation. If the greatest aspiration people have is to be on CNN – don’t follow the old model. We can do anything we want to do now.

Tumblogs – takes a generation or two, has to be people who grew up with the new media.

It’s really going to be something completely different and new. You could lifestream, you could have a camera on your head, the more we can try new forms, that’s really exciting.

It’s about interacting with the audience, we’re moving from monologue to dialogue. The best thing about coming to a conference like this is we’re with other like-minded people participating in this brand new thing.

We’re in the inner circle creating something new. We want to expand it and convert the world and undermine the old media. Think of new ways to use your blog. Comment on other people’s blogs. The opportunity is to try to mix the media.

Different kinds of media and what they’re good for. . .

The Video Grunt, teaches you how to do video on the Internet.

We’ll be talking about writing audio and video and what each does. If you can access the next level of technology, with Utterz and Ustream

Why should you do this?

Writing is very rational and very cerebral. Very frontal lobe and it’s a great way to structure your ideas.

Video is very monkey mind, in his opinion. TV needs to appeal to your monkey mind. It doesn’t need to be rational and cerebral. It’s about emotion. The French Maid’s podcast. [viewer discretion advised]. The more different emotions you can stimulate, the more successful you’ll be: terror, fear, joy, anger, etc.

Audio is intimate. You’re in their ear. This goes back to the primordial mind. Did people begin to believe in God, because primitive man heard voices in his head? Rational, cerebral and very good at abstract concepts, audio is about speaking to someone directly and it’s really good for conversation.

When you write a blog, you stimulate a conversation. Look at the comments on YouTube. They’re moronic. Most of them are actually dialogue.

Your personality is the forefront of the blog, the author takes a little bit of a backseat. In podcasting the personality comes to the forefront.

Put a face with a name, you know who that is. Probably on a scale. As a blogger, if you would like to promote who your are in the sense of who you are, do a little video and audio. Say, “I will be live chatting and talking with you Thursday at 9:00.”

There is value with all form of media and mixing them has value to you.

Podcasting is in the software slump. Hit the wall after three years. There’s a ceiling here somewhere. When you talk to a podcaster, they might inflate the numbers. Everybody seems to have topped out. Reached the limit of technology, we’re not getting to the next group.

Have to drop the podcast part. Think of yourself as creating content. Podcast confuses people. If bloggers created more content, that would help. Make it more accessible and easier. You don’t have to go to iTunes to get it. Microsoft has software to download.

Podcast and video is so great. There’s this huge range of content. There’s a different sense when you’re in a community. Somebody doing a podcast is right there with you. People stare at TV personalities because they’re used to seeing them in a box. When you meet someone who’s listened to you, they’ve made a connection with you.

Read the book, “Linked: The New Science of Networks.” The Long Tail turns out to be true in almost every network. Hollywood actors, the cell. Interesting thing – when we scale free networks and zoom in on a fractal – we are each our own solar system. Really valuable to remember that.

If you do a blog about woodworking, your goal is to be the hub for woodworking, not the woodworking guy on CNN. The truth is, we’re all hubs in our own little world. If you’re looking for a job and you ask all your best friends you have a 50% chance versus asking an acquaintance. We are in the network topology and we have connectors from hub to hub. If you want to be successful, you have to branch out. It comes back down to – and science proves it – it’s about not monologue, but dialogue.

Old media is dead and dying. In 20 years, watching someone talk to you on TV will seem like a silent film. You’ve got to have a dialogue.

Leo launched a couple of new podcasts: parenting in the digital age and junk food. Most podcasts don’t have an arc: beginning, middle and end. Launching a reality show featuring Roz Savage. A rower, writer, speaker and blogger, Roz went across the Atlantic with a satellite phone and a PDA. The reality show will meet her and then they’ll talk to her as she rows across the Pacific. Get interested in trying different things within the podcast format.

Create new formats – and let’s reach out and talk to each other.


What’s your take?

Browse Wired PR Work’s BlogWorld Expo 2007 collection.

One in a series of lightly edited transcripts or comments by Barbara Rozgonyi.

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