There was obviously lots to talk about in this session hosted by David Geller, John Battelle, and Dan Gillmor, but I took one specific thing away from it. Dan Gillmor, in answering a question posed by Darren Barefoot about how the average citizen can become important enough when big media is around, said that what we’re talking about is “mass media” and NOT “mainstream media”.
For some reason, that statement really resonates. Mainstream is quite relative when you think about it. If you read a dozen different publications every day, that’s mainstream for you, even if no one else reads the same publications. Mass media is a much better way to describe the organizations that normally come to mind – the big newspapers, television and radio stations, and websites.
When you think about it, the defintion makes a difference when you try to figure out how joe average can make a successful podcast. It doesn’t matter if that podcast becomes “mass media”, what’s more important is that it becomes “mainstream media” for a group of people. If you’ve got something you’re passionate about and something you want to say, and there are people who want to listen, I’d define that as success.
Podcasting will almost definitely become another technology used by mass media. What will truly decide whether or not it has staying power, is if podcasting becomes mainstream media too. And based on the growth we’ve seen so far, I think it’s a safe bet.