The Key to Understanding New Media Is Attitude, Not Technology

Gina Trapani

Gina Tapani

Anytime you write in depth about  a new technology, you are at risk of falling into what might be called the Trapani Trap. A couple of years ago, Gina Trapani, the founder of Lifehacker and a cohost of This Week in Google, wrote and self-published the Complete Guide to Google Wave, which she described as “an experiment in iterative publishing.” As Google’s innovative technology evolved and its uses expanded, she would continue updating her book.  We all know how that worked out.

For my own experiment in iterative publishing, the New-Media Survival Guide, I wanted to avoid the Trapani Trap by putting less emphasis on the technologies behind the new-media revolution and more on the attitudes and ethos that are driving it.

In fact, the core message of my book is that to thrive in a new-media environment, you don’t have to be a technological wizard or one of those annoying early adopters. Social media platforms will come and go, sometimes with bewildering speed. You don’t need to master each one to be a good new-media citizen. But you do need to be open to them, and to have some level of curiosity about what they are trying to achieve.

The latest case in point is Pinterest. As I wrote yesterday, Pinterest is not for everybody and is not trying to be the next Facebook. But if you’re serious about your new-media career, you’ll read up on it. The list of resources in my article, which will probably work its way into the next edition of the guide, is a good place to start.