The Importance Of Linking – Past And Present
The 1947 movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ challenges viewers to think outside of the box. Not just with the question of whether Santa Claus is real, but with the idea of directing your customers (audience) to the best place to get the product (information) they are looking for. In the movie, Santa informs a mother (at 4:18 mark) of a store that sells a particular fire truck for less than the Macy’s Store he currently works in.
In those times, that kind of “helpfulness” was considered a “no-no,” since the store wanted to keep the customers in their building, buying their products. Santa, in this case, accidentally became innovative. He bypassed the company’s desire to make as much money as possible, and linked this particular woman to a more valuable alternative.
The thinking Santa had then, should be applied today. With so much content available at a person’s fingertips, the days of needing to provide everything for an audience are gone. The newspaper industry is one group who have been slow to accept this kind of thinking. Jeff Jarvis believes they should “Cover what you do best. Link to the rest:
There’s another angle to this: News is not one-size-fits-all. We don’t get all our news from one source anymore. We get bombarded with news all around us. So we all knew that Anna Nicole Smith was dead (or, in Jack Cafferty’s immortal words, still dead). So that means that not every newspaper needs to cover that story in depth.
It certainly means that The New York Times needn’t. So why did the Times devote considerable space and reporting and editing talent to the Anna Nicole story this week? They added nothing more to the story. It’s not what they do best. At the least, if they felt they really needed to cover it, they should have used the AP.
The Newspaper industry could be doing things this way out of fear. Jay Rosen thinks, “The only people who worry about whether bloggers are gonna replace news media are people who work in news media.” That quote was taken from a video (at :55 mark) in which he discusses the Ethics of Linking. Mr. Rosen inadvertently explains why Santa’s actions in the movie were a good idea that should be applied to the modern day blogosphere.
In ‘Miracle on 34h Street’, Santa wasn’t intentionally implementing some grand marketing scheme, but the corporate brass thought it was great for business (at :55 mark) in the end. The world has evolved; linking is a train that’s passing newspapers by… they should hop on board.