The Great Mystery of Media

by Susan Murphy

Sketchy notes
Image by Sketchy Notes

Back in the 1970’s, a Canadian named Moses Znaimer did something that nobody had ever done before. He took the medium of television, which had long been a great, mysterious and meticulous process reserved only for a select set of highly trained professionals, and gave it back to the people.

Through his little UHF station, CITY-TV, he turned the TV production process on its head, and made everything the studio. He showed audiences not only what was happening on the screen, but what was happening behind the scenes too. Lights and cameras and microphones were in the shot. The cameras moved and roamed and shook and zoomed in and out, and were taken from the pros and placed in the hands of the reporters and hosts. It was spontaneous and real. Moses Znaimer de-mystified TV, and the broadcasting world was never the same. The medium is the message, indeed.

Flash forward about 35 years and here we sit, firmly planted in a new era where media truly is in the hands of the people. Everyone now has the opportunity to be a publisher. So, one would think, with media being so accessible to all of us now, that more people would actually be publishing.

Yet most of us are not.

As much as the Internet as changed our behavior, it really hasn’t changed much at all. We just think it has. As easy as it is to just push a button and become a publisher now, most people still are not doing it. They know the process is not a great mystery any longer, and they are intrigued by the possibilities.

They WANT to publish, because they’ve seen the benefits publishing can bring to them and their business. But still, they hesitate. Why? Because the average person still thinks the so-called “experts” and “A-Listers” are the ones with all the control. They think that the people with the loudest voices know more, so they fall back to the role of passive consumer of media, because it’s the safest place to be.

The truth is, just because the mystery of the media process has been removed from the equation, doesn’t mean that you are ready to take the next step to become a publisher. Why? Because as comfortable as you are with the process now, you’re still not convinced you have anything interesting to say. You still would rather consume than create, even though you know that creation is the best thing for you.

But you DO have something to contribute. You are already interesting, by the very nature that you are the only one in the world who sees things from your perspective. And by sharing that perspective, you’re giving the world something very, very worthwhile.

So, with all the mystery out of the way, how are you going overcome your fears? How are you going to make the transition from consumer to creator?

There’s really only one way.

Just. Hit. Publish.

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Susan Murphy is an entrepreneur, TV producer, teacher, blogger, podcaster, and social media nerd. She’s been tinkering with media in all its forms for the past 20 years or so. Suze lives in Ottawa, Canada with four furry four-legged creatures and her extremely patient husband.


  • So there are no boring people?

    • You need to believe you’re interesting first. Then you can tell an interesting story.

    • I agree with Susan. I’ve never meet a boring person; I’ve only meet people who think they are boring. And a few egos who believe others are boring.

  • So there are no boring people?

  • I think that people can be boring… at times. But it would be impossible to be a boring person. It is a distinction that exists. That may seem to be a cop-out, but think of it this way: I’m sure you’ve been in a conversation where all you wanted was the conversation to end because it wasn’t engaging you. The other person was being boring, but they aren’t a boring person.

    No idea if that makes sense.

  • Great post. It takes a lot guts to hit publish. To bring something into the world with your name on it, that can be criticized or even worse, ignored. But we have to take advantage of this revolution that we’re living through. The opportunity is too valuable to waste.

    • It is indeed, Al. Publishing IS scary…but the good thing is, the more one does it, the easier it gets.

  • The thing about what is boring vs interesting, is that it is one of the few things that is entirely dependent on the consumer.  What we bring to the table determines what interests us.  One of the greatest things to come out of the new media revolution is that we are no longer limited to consuming what a dozen or so individuals think is interesting.  Because it has become so easy to publish, it is easier than ever before, to find things that truly interest us.   I for one, hope more people take up the call.

    • Interest is completely subjective, and therefore so is social media. And you’re right – that is very, very cool!

  • I think people fear publishing because they fear
    rejection or being laughed at. Once you get over what people think, you can get
    comfortable with publishing and share your thoughts.

  • Susan, I believe you have put your finger on a very profound question/concept here.  Now that we have all of these opportunities in front of us to publish, those that do NOT are going to be at an increased disadvantage are they not?

    It used to be unless you were “traditionally” published or had reached an elevanted status as a freelance writer you were among the “non-published” – in the old world that group of published was quite small. 

    But now with blogs, online newsletters, content portals, video directories, self-publishing, etc…the audience of “published” grows and grows.  Over time, the non-published group sees themselves as further behind.

    In other words, people better LEARN to publish, the fear of not being published should be greater than the fear of jumping in…my take anyway.


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