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An Audience with an Audience of Audiences

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Several years ago, Mollie Sterling shared a picture of a classroom at her alma mater, The Missouri School of Journalism. The picture eventually went viral and in 2008, Apple used it in a press conference announcing a next generation Macbook event. In her post entitled “Look at them Apples,” Sterling featured the now famous picture with a statement that documented the rapid evolution in human computing and networking, “It does my heart good to see these photos from my alma mater, The Missouri School of Journalism. Back in the fall of 2001 when I was a freshman, it was me and two other kids in the back row with our glowing Apples. Now I feel almost sad for that poor kid with the Windows machine in the front row .”

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									An Audience with an Audience of Audiences
By Brian Solis, blogger at BrianSolis.com and principal of FutureWorks, Author of the highly
acclaimed book on social business Engage!




Several years ago, Mollie Sterling shared a picture of a classroom at her alma mater, The Missouri
School of Journalism. The picture eventually went viral and in 2008, Apple used it in a press
conference announcing a next generation Macbook event.

In her post entitled “Look at them Apples,” Sterling featured the now famous picture with a statement
that documented the rapid evolution in human computing and networking, “It does my heart good to
see these photos from my alma mater, The Missouri School of Journalism. Back in the fall of 2001
when I was a freshman, it was me and two other kids in the back row with our glowing Apples. Now I
feel almost sad for that poor kid with the Windows machine in the front row   .”

To say it’s a captivating photo is an understatement. It’s the kind of picture that evokes exercises in
existentialism and introspection. At the very least, it makes us question the future of handwriting and
makes me think that it might be time to donate my collection of fountain and rollerball pens to a
museum of fine writing instruments. As an aside, there is only one person in the audience manually
taking notes that I can see.

Sterling’s picture is more than an advertisement for Apple. It serves as both a time capsule
immortalizing this important transition and also serves as evidence of the emergence of new
information nextworks. Every single one of these students is connected to others in the room and
also around the world, figuratively and literally. Add a hotspot and each student represents a node in
the human network, playing an instrumental role in the dissemination of information and also the
experiences that unite us online and in real life (IRL).

This picture was our official introduction to the audience with an audience of audiences.

The People Formerly Known as the Audience




(cc) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com - Twitter, @briansolis
We live in interesting times and the dose of reality contained within this photo is intoxicating and
frightening at the same time. The classroom however, is merely one setting where we can expect to
see the impact of the connected individual and the networked audiences they weave.

The audience with audiences populates conferences, webinars and meetings.
The audience with audiences redefines the living room.

Each update we share quite literally becomes a social object, a form of media that invites interaction
where reach resonates and extends like concentric circles with every instance. Social objects
represent the asphalt that paves the roads between us.

Good friend and NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen famously wrote in 2006, “We are the people
formerly known as the audience.” His work served as the stimulus for humanizing the audience,
challenging content producers to consider the very people they attempt to reach in order to earn
personal connections and galvanize meaningful interaction.

And now “the audience” has ripened to earn an audience of its own. But with social media, comes
great responsibility.

Our job now is to speak to and through the people in our audiences simultaneously. The goal of
course is to spread information across social graphs and interest graphs.

The cultural impact of new media is profound as it weaves a new fabric for how we connect and
communicate with one another. As a digital society, we are ushering in an era where everyday
people form a global network of self-empowered social intermediaries that accelerate and proliferate
the reach and effect of information and experiences.

We are no longer just part of the information consumption or production process; we are evolving the
system for learning and sharing through real-time signal repeaters that boost the reach of digitally
transmitted messages – from your status update to the world in seconds.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook




(cc) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is globally recognized as one of most prominent thought leaders and
published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has
studied and influenced the effects of emerging media in business, culture and the
convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. He is principal of
FutureWorks, an award-winning business management and New Media consultancy in
San Francisco and has led change management and social programs for Fortune 500
companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups. BrianSolis.com is ranked among
the top of world's leading business and marketing websites.

Solis is the author of Engage! The complete guide for businesses to build, cultivate and
measure success in the new Web.




Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
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(cc) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com - Twitter, @briansolis

								
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