I had the awesome opportunity to play professor (a sometimes dream of mine) on Friday. A group of new media students from the The University of Alabama in Huntsville visited campus. My supervisor and the actual professor teaching the students went to graduate school together. Through a weird chain of events (and no ass-kissing) I was the lucky duck who got to “teach” them for the afternoon.
I’m no shrinking violet, but 30 young-20-somethings is intimidating, especially if they came to hear about Cartoon Network and [adult swim] and they got me. But I started out with a brief history of Turner and a broad talk about the cable industry and our motivations in new media. Sure, I threw in some tidbits about Andy Merrill and the genesis of [adult swim] as well, but I came from the point of view of all our networks. It was really informative for me as well, since I got to see just how much these kids knew.
- Most, if not all, had broadband at home
- About 1/4 had downloaded BitTorrent content in the past week
- 10% had a good understanding of HDTV
- All of them understood Flash and the merits of content management
- The word “blog” was mentioned by them, not me, a half-dozen times
I’m sure I’m missing some equally interesting metrics, but that’s what I can recall. For my part, here are some of the opportunities/new business/new media growth potential areas I mentioned.
- Wireless – Cellphones, PDAs, whatever comes next
- Enhanced TV
- Set-top boxes, including DVRs (TiVo, Replay, Windows HME)
- Branded online environments
Again, my caveat applies. I spoke for more than 90 minutes, so I’m sure I’ve left something out.
The one thing I did emphasize ad nauseam was the fact that in the digital 21st century, anyone could be a star tomorrow. If you don’t have a blog, podcast, vlog or cool site (Ferry Halim or Homestar Runner) to show of your skills, you’re toast. This is new media and literally anyone can do it – which is both exciting and scary. But if you have passion and dedication, you will succeed. Beefcake!
I know it sounds cheesy and very Dead Poets Society, but it’s true. Grant me some degree of cheesiness since I don’t play professor often. I honestly believe that the future stars of new media, of all media, will be individuals or companies who believe in the empowerment of the technology.
It’s cheap and it’s easy: why aren’t you (or me) a rockstar yet?