A Micro Media Mogul, I Presume...
On the putting green at the Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport, Maine, I posed this morning with Jim Long, aka newmediajim on Twitter, founder of Verge New Media and a veteran NBC News cameraman. I met Jim on Twitter, where he is a rock star for his engaging, intimate Tweets from home and his far-flung, fascinating work. Today he was doing live shots with John Yang, who looked spiffy as usual on camera in a polo shirt and dark blazer. What you didn't see unless you were standing on the putting green was that John was wearing shorts and was doing his live reporting in his bare feet.
Jim and I had a great visit, in between interruptions from his Blackberry, and I'll have a version of it up Wednesday on the Video Pod Chronicles. He is the second person I've met in person after a virtual introduction on Twitter, the first being the Boston writer and stand-up comic Baratunde Thurston. These moves from virtual to real are exciting, and as I drove from Ocean Park to Kennebunkport this morning, I couldn't help thinking of Stanley's first meeting of Livingstone. "Dr. NewMediaJim, I presume..." Instead, he spotted me in the din of the media work station as I stepped tentatively into a wild babble of voices, which today included French, because Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, was visiting the Walker's Point compound for les hamburgers with the Bushes.
I admire Jim's skillful straddling of new and old media, and his determination to make a career for himself, eventually, in the new. His skill with a camera is painterly. He showed me how he set the aperture to create a gauzy, handsome background of the Maine coast behind John Yang, and it's no surprise that reporters at NBC jockey to have Jim do their camerawork. He also gets the power of new media and is creating an exciting new social network for the crafts community at CraftyNation.com .
I will remember in particular one bit of advice Jim offered, regarding how to be successful in the new media. Be genuine, and be nice to people. That's it. That's what it takes to gather a following on Twitter, or on your blog, or in any of the other virtual hangouts of the Internet. The genuine part is tricky, I find. We all divide our lives among the public, the private, and the secret. Being genuine online means taking risks in where you draw the line between the public and the private personas. Most secrets should remain secrets for sanity's sake and the good of the community. Jim Long is a good model of someone who has got the recipe right: a genuine guy sharing his interesting life with the world, and treating others with kindness and generosity.
Saturday, August 11, 2007