Generally speaking, mass media outlets are not inclined to offer much time or attention to pro-aging stories. (For a recent exception see this.) Successful use of mass media gives people a warm fuzzy feeling because it generates big numbers. “Two million people saw our story!!!!” A better strategy involves learning how to tell and share our own stories with the people who care about our issue.
The problem is that 99 percent of a mass media audience never gives a pro-aging story another thought after it flashes by on the screen. The pro-aging movement can become enormously successful if we can learn how to reach the smaller number of people who really care about and think about our issue.
I was reminded of this when I stumbled across a blog post that discussed the “cascading” spread of a political story that jumped off the web and into mass media reporting. The post is HERE.
I’ve modified that post to help make a point about what we are trying to do here at ChangingAging…
To be clear: while the timing strongly suggests that the ChangingAging post played some role in getting some attention for the story, its role was limited. The article’s intrinsic merits were crucial in getting sustained attention – if its findings had not been so interesting, and so easily comprehensible, they would probably not have gotten the attention they did. Furthermore, most of the people who wrote about the article were likely reading each other rather than reading the ChangingAging directly – while the ChangingAging post may have started the snowball effect, the snowball soon took on a life of its own. Finally, even when articles are excellent, and have attention drawn to them, they may not take off. That it did happen for this piece does not mean that it will happen for all pieces of similar quality that get initial attention in the blogosphere.
Even so, this should encourage pro-aging advocates and innovators to try to get their ideas out into the broader public debate, whether through blogging these findings themselves, telling their story to other ChangingAging bloggers, or other means. There is genuine demand for interesting, compelling pro-aging findings that can be communicated straightforwardly to a wider audience. People who support the pro-aging point of view sometimes do not have the ready skills to communicate their findings to the world outside of aging – but these skills can be learnt, or at the accessed by sending information and ideas to ChangingAging bloggers.
Quality stories that readers can connect to intellectually and emotionally are the coin of the internet realm.
Do you have a story to tell?