Misconceptions

Seth Godin’s latest blog post reminds us how we can be relaying misconceptions to the students we teach.

The internet certainly presents us with possibilities. We can become creators and have our work appreciated by others. We can make a name for ourselves and reap the rewards that come from this. But we can also become part of the long tail of creators who are vying for voice and attention who don’t get noticed and don’t reap rewards.

Seth quotes a report from Charles Blow in the NY Times about the music industry;

“A study last year conducted by members of PRS for Music, a nonprofit royalty collection agency, found that of the 13 million songs for sale online last year, 10 million never got a single buyer and 80 percent of all revenue came from about 52,000 songs. That’s less than one percent of the songs.”

Pretty staggering figures really. So for every young band out there vying for an audience, the odds are pretty much not stacked in your favour.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t be encouraging our students to use this medium to be heard. What we should be doing is presenting them with the   realities of  the medium. You can’t expect that loading your latest and greatest effort onto YouTube is your entry point to worldwide noteriety. You need to face the reality that if you are going to take a crack at it you need to explore the medium to it’s full potential. You need to know how to market your online presence to full effect.

Even more reason why educators need to get up to speed. These are skills that need to be taught. The business model is changing.  It’s a new world out there.

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One response to “Misconceptions

  1. So true! The Internet is a great platform for sharing your thoughts, art, work but very few people develop a following just by popping something up on the web. There has to be a blend of physical and virtual. A little leg work to get people’s attention. I like Seth’s comment about making something work in the small before marketing it to the masses. Most of the the artists and writers who have been successful online have also cultivated a local or word-of-mouth based following either before hand or simultaneously.

    I agree that as teachers this means that we continue to encourage our students to be active participants on the web while helping them to understand the limitations of the medium and how best to market themselves, online and off. There are certainly good models out there. For instance, think how many of us alert our Twitter followers whenever we post a new blog piece. And when we have our students launch an online project we often solicit involvement from our local and global colleagues. We do not wait for Mohammad to come to the mountain, but while we do not exactly bring the mountain to Mohammad, we at least let him know it is there. Jenny is right, these are discussions we need to have and skills that need to be taught.

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