The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, the Choice for Business Is Stark: Listen or Perish

By Sullivan, Dan | Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Autumn 2010 | Go to article overview

The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, the Choice for Business Is Stark: Listen or Perish


Sullivan, Dan, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly


* The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, the Choice for Business Is Stark: Listen or Perish. Bob Garfield. Nashville, TN: Stielstra Publishing, 2009. 306 pp. $19.99 pbk.

One of the popular debates about the Internet and related digital technologies is whether they represent an evolutionary change or a revolutionary one. It is fairly easy to argue for the former position, since fundamentally all that the Internet does is to lower the cost of transmitting information. However, it is much more fun to argue for the latter view, and Bob Garfield is clearly in this second camp.

In The Chaos Scenario, Garfield uses a mix of colorful language and well-chosen examples to argue that the so-called digital revolution "isn't just some news-magazine cover headline. It's an actual revolution, yielding revolutionary changes, thousands or millions of victims and an entirely new way of life." The principie implication of this shift is a fundamental undermining of most existing business models for media firms - Garfield envisions the end of traditional advertising agencies, newspapers and other traditional news organizations, and most network television programming.

Garfield, a longtime media columnist and host of National Public Radio's On the Media, offers a clear picture of how the advertising business will need to change in this new world, as well as some thoughts about what this will mean for the news business. The central focus of Garfield's picture of the future is what he calls "listenomics," which he defines as "the art and science of cultivating relationships with individuals in a connected, increasingly open-source environment." He then commences to offer a series of examples of what this will look like. These range from Lego Corporation's "mindstorms" to a vast array of "widgets" for the computer desktop to virtual, selfdefined religious congregations to "ten rules for word-of-mouth advertising."

Garfield clearly hopes that listenomics will catch on and become as widely recognized as freakonomics or wikinomics. In reality, this is a variation on a relatively old argument in the management literature about the need to listen to your customer and to be willing to change. And the idea of building individual relationships with customers is central to most service models of the media business. However, what makes this concept feel new here is an endless series of examples demonstrating that most media managers (including some very prominent ones) don't seem to get it - it may be part of the academic literature, but that knowledge clearly has yet to transfer to the various media industries.

The focus that Garfield puts on listening actually hinders the potential value of the book. It causes him to miss the opportunity to make more of two changes that underlie listenomics, changes that are more fundamental for advertising and journalism professionals: the declining importance of mass, and the fact that information (content) is no longer what is scarce. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, the Choice for Business Is Stark: Listen or Perish
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.