The age of new media
Who'd ever thought that I would be in the same room with 'that woman' - Monica Lewinsky? It was at the closing key note of Festival of Marketing where she was introduced as a speaker: 'Monica is going to talk to us about branding...'. I was about to leave the venue when I heard this and thinking 'so she's found a way to make the shameful event a business'. Then another word caught my attention and made me stay: '... and compassion'.
We've then seen a strong and confident woman walked onto the stage, revealed her personal journey and talked passionately about her beliefs. Since then, I've been spending my last week telling my friends that 'I adore Monica Lewinsky', and most people gave me the 'really?' look. Really, and here is why.
Broadcasting with compassion and authenticity
We love dramatic stories - this is what media tapping into. There is no new news here, just open any newspaper and count how many articles are about scandals, gossips, tragedies. In the traditional business model, media's success is evaluated by 'reach'. So the more drama built in the story, the more people read/watch it, and the more successful the content is, the more money it makes. How much of the story is real? Who knows and who cares as long as it's successful.
Thanks to all the new channels which give power to us, this is changing. We are not attracted to a cover story of a certain celebrity any more, we look for people like us, we look for real stories behind a face, we look for inspirations. We've seen the success of 'Humans of New York' as it focuses on everyday human, it powerfully communicates a story with few words and a picture which inspires others.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the traditional broadcasting media channels are going to change in the near future. It's time for them to put compassion and authenticity at the core of its value: give us the full picture and get behind the surface to walk in the person's shoes - be it's a criminal, a survivor, a politician, a celebrity, we are all humans and fundamentally the same.
We are all celebrities
We all got followers on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumbler etc who are interested in what we do and say. Think about it - we are actually all 'celebrities', and better than other 'celebrities', we actually own our broadcasting media! We are actually media ourselves!
Agreed? Then let's think ourselves in this way. What does it mean being a celebrity? In my opinion - to inspire others. What does it mean being a media? To communicate the inspirations. We've all got a valuable asset and powerful tools at our finger tips, the messages, pictures, videos, articles we post and share form a picture of us, and it gets to pass onto others. Whenever we are about to go 'broadcasting', how about do it with compassion (for ourselves and others) and authenticity, and think about what inspiration it may bring to others.
Be mindful of our words and actions
We all get opinions and keen to express them. In the 'old' days, we saw a piece of news on TV or newspaper and discuss with our friends. Now, the raise of new media has empowered us with a stronger voice, and enabled us to go straight to the person who's the news' all about. With power comes responsibilities - we know this in corporates, politics, but I do think this is the universal truth.
The new media channels brought power with easiness, but unfortunately not much responsibility. We post, twitter, share things too easily online without thinking of the consequences. Monica has brought responsibility back to the picture - she uses 'cyberbullying' for the this new trend.
We've talked about being celebrities and media channels ourselves, now think about how much damage we can make with our words - to ourselves and to others. There are families destroyed, lives lost, people hurt by our single post. Before we criticise or judge, or pass one a piece of criticism or judgement, how about learning about what's behind, try to find the whole picture, try to empathise with the person.
Building resilience with a strong purpose
I've kept this for the last. One thing Monica Lewinsky impressed me the most is her strength and confidence. Being the most hated woman in the whole world when she was 24 years old. I can hardly imagine how traumatised it could have been for her.
There were people decided to end their lives over scandals, there were people disappeared from public for life, there were people used the scandal to create a business. Monica decided to re-appear in the public after a decade and stand for a good cause: against cyberbulling. Yes she is using her 'celebrity' power to get people listen to her at first place, but it is for something bigger than herself. She has turned herself as a channel for the cause. And only because she's found the purpose, she gained the power to come back with a stronger mind, and a more compassionate heart.
We've all made mistakes, we've all had failures, in the age of new media, we'll never know when these things would be picked up and made 'known'. Most important thing to remember is we are not our mistakes or failures, but they make us being better. If we can find our purpose in this world, we can then focus on turning all of them into something meaningful, and we will never be beaten!
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