We conducted a workshop last week with an interesting set of stakeholders – publishers.
We were at Globalocal, a conference organised by German Book Office to discuss the current trends in the publishing industry. As my colleague Rajesh was interacting with the group on their experiences and learnings with social media, I was quite intrigued by the inputs and reactions. He had started his deck with the ‘Why this Kolaveri Di’ song which elicited smiles across the room, but I also saw some wince in discomfort and heave a sigh of relief when the song was over.
On being asked if they started their day with Facebook, there were negligible responses in affirmative and on the whole the group did not seem to have embraced social in a big way.
It set me thinking on how the emergence of social media has given one basic fundamental access to all – to be an author and a publisher at the same time. And who should this change impact the most? One would imagine the traditional publishers. The analogy I shared with the audience was equating the emergence of social media to abolition of a caste system where the traditional publishers akin to the Brahmins have lost out on their traditional power. In the SMS slang, 140 character economy of language of the day, puritanism is fast becoming extinct. All rules that they played by (that of ‘proper’ language being the basic) are fast losing relevance. The discomfort appears to be almost a resistance to change.
My colleague Vishesh had taken a quick look at how the publishing houses in India are engaging audience using Facebook. He covered the mainstream publishers and some of the niche publishing houses to see if there were any specific trends.
There was an interesting activity that we shared with the group in the final segment. There were some incredibly funny but some very good ideas shared by the groups. More about that in the next post