What tribe are you? Tribalization of media and audiance.

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I was recently asked what was the biggest change in the last decade. I thought: easy, tribilization. Marshall McLuhan predicted it and it happened. People feel more connected these days but actually they’re less connected as a whole. They’re now organically building tribes and speaking to each other in their own coded language.

Turn on the TV and watch politicians from across the aisle speak to one another. They don’t understand each other at all.

Look at what’s trending on YouTube. If you’re geeky enough to be reading this far into this blog post you won’t understand why anybody would watch that stuff.

And you’re probably not all that interested in what your younger brother or your daughter’s friends are talking about on Facebook either.

But if you’re on Twitter, read blogs or just read what your friends send you in emails, you’re are in effect communicating and sharing tribally on Internet. And these days, we’re sharing an awful lot.

More and more of what were reading and sharing now is personalized. No longer do we only get the local paper or a national one, watch the evening news and read books from the bestseller list. We’re consuming news compiled on RSS feeds, watching selected TV programs from hundreds of channels on a DVR, downloading books onto portable devices and getting tips on what to consume from members of our self-selected groups via blogs, Twitter and Facebook. We’re now spending a lot more time consuming media but none of us are watching the same thing. Gone are the days of the nation listing to the president’s fireside chat or even all of us tuning into the same television program. The only true mass audience these days is the Superbowl.

I don’t mean to say this is bad. There are certainly some negative implications to media tribalization – like one group getting their news from Rachel Madow, another listening to Glen Beck and even more from John Stewart but none from the likes of Walter Cronkite. On the positive side, we’re able to connect with people that share the same interests and passions. I for one, feel more informed thanks to the connections I’ve made on blogs and Twitter. And as a bonus, the proliferation media outlets has produced much better entertainment content then the days of the big three television networks.

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Posted on: January 23, 2010, by :