With presidential election season comes the re-emergence of Tip O’Neill’s famous “All politics is local” quote as presumptive candidates galavant around the country searching for votes. It’s especially interesting in a flat world – “local” now applies to central Asia, the Middle East and at least a few hours of stop overs in various capitals of Europe. Think globally, act locally…
Got me thinking about how relevant that metaphor is for media. Get out of your marketer seat and get in your user of media seat (sit in both simultaneously if you can because I think Tip was when he said what he did about politics). I’m not talking about national vs. local in terms of buying media. I’m more interested in how it’s received.
I’m talking about local in terms of couches and dens and cars and shopping malls and strip malls and taxi cabs and sidewalks and phones/PDAs and mailboxes (physical and electronic) and laptops connected to free wifi in a Starbucks and earbuds plugged into digital music players (must stop now – hearing Von Trapp children singing Favorite Things).
The point is how something gets to someone is moot unless what’s being said and how it’s being said is relevant for the situation in which the person is in when receiving the something being said to them – and they can take action on it assuming they’re properly motivated.
Thank you for the resounding chorus of, “Well, duh!”, but now search your mind for examples of missed opportunity in terms of something being said in such a way that – as you sat on your couch or checked your iPhone/BlackBerry or walked down the street or through the mall – you scoffed at the irrelevance in what you just encountered. I’ll assume it won’t take you long to think of something that happened either just yesterday or perhaps even this morning.
Obviously, we can’t just toss aside the established deliniation between local and national media or the need to understand the dynamics of audience delivery to accumulated action. But in an increasingly digital world allowing for more and more sophistication in message delivery, looking at local in terms of message reception becomes necessary.