Primarily a media creation

One of the things that I continually run up against in my dealings with people in broadcasting is a weird kind of naïveté when it comes to acknowledging the degree to which the people formerly known as the audience are hip to what we do, especially our hype. Here’s a great case in point.

I love ESPN SportsNation. The silly polls are fun to participate in, and the results can be viewed on a Flash map that breaks down the vote state-by-state. This morning’s question dealt with Terrell Owens, the over-hyped, over-rated egomaniac wide receiver of the Dallas Cowboys. He’s returning to play in Philadelphia, a place where — for those of you who’ve been living in a vacuum the last couple of years — he had a falling out with the entire team. Such drama (yawn).

Of 100,000 people who voted this morning, more than 6 in 10 view the whole thing as “primarily a media creation.” And these are FANS!

Now, in light of this kind of unscientific evidence, how do we continue to behave as though everybody loves us and falls for our hype? We don’t, and it’s one of the reasons we have an audience problem.

In many ways, this is simply what we in broadcasting do. It is, after all, a mass marketing medium, and the way you gather a mass is to hype, and to those who do it well go the spoils. And you know what? “Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, and maybe there will always be an audience for it.

But it would be foolish to ignore this as one of the elements in the rise of the Personal Media Revolution.

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