Who is making you try that new dish on the menu that actually looks like it could get up and walk away with your wallet? In 2008, it's not likely to be your dinner partner who's exerting that mental push. In fact, it's more likely to be the new media tastemaker you visited online today.
What is a new media tastemaker?
New Media Tastemakers aren't the people who post blogs, videos, and items that inform you of the latest breaking news, or shape your opinions about life, culture, and politics. Though they are new media players without a doubt, unless they're telling you that something you're going to eat or wear is bad for one reason or another, they are not tastemakers in the current sense.
New Media Tastemakers are in fact the ones who deliver pre-digested to you the results and reviews of their research on the latest foods, trends, fashions, restaurants, designs, recipes, chefs, hot spots, and more. Their numbers are legion, and they are quickly challenging, and in many cases usurping, what was previously the exclusive domain of glossy magazines, newspaper features sections, PBS, and terrestrial television.
These areas of subject matter, and the New Media Tastemakers behind them, have now gained unprecedented reach and influence over what people buy, eat, watch, wear, and do in leisure and in life.
Furthermore, their increased influence, reach, and ability to bring new ideas and discoveries to an information-addicted audience continues to grow, even as the economy itself is slowing. Just as online video is doing to television, and blogs and Google and Craiglist are doing to newspapers, the New Media Tastemakers are doing to entire categories of the media – and cutting across all providers and consumers of the lifestyle media segment.
Who are good examples of current leaders among the New Media Tastemakers? Here's a small sample list:
- Off the Broiler
- Chocolate & Zucchini
- 101 Cookbooks
- Dessert First
- Food Porn Watch
- Becks & Posh
- Cool Hunting
- Candy Addict.com
… and we when say that this is a "short list," we mean that was very, very short. The combined readership of these content creators and distributors is estimated to vastly outnumber any of the established traditional media outlets covering the same topics. And their impact on sales, trends, and awareness is much more immediate.
Still, when money and revenue are required for continued viability, even if what you do is an all-consuming hobby, the question currently being bandied about is, "What's really in store for these new influencers? Can they survive, can they thrive, or are they just a flash in the pan?" These are not simple questions. As pioneers in the lifestyle segments, the issues, challenges, revenue opportunities, and business models facing these trendsetters are unique, and very little media coverage on new media has examined them or provided either answers or clues.
To address these issues, a New Media Tastemakers Summit on New Media and Video 2.0 has been announced for May 2, 2008 in San Francisco. It will be a first-of-its-kind gathering of some of the most important digital media, traditional media, online video, and Web 2.0 producers, platforms, and startups specifically focused on the lucrative and highly influential lifestyle categories of: food and wine, fashion and design, and regional/city sites.
Will a consensus be reached? Unlikely, but a lot of networking, information sharing, and idea swapping could lead to one eventually. For the New Media Tastemakers, the race may have just begun.