Publishing as a social medium

I’m at our Tools of Change for Publishing conference in New York this morning, listening to Doug Rushkoff saying “The internet is not interactive media. It’s interpersonal media,” and explaining why the 50s went from a pack of gum with a baseball card to a pack of baseball cards with a stick of gum. “Baseball cards were a more social medium.” He explains the history of publishing as the history of social media. “When we bought a record, we didn’t just want a connection with the singer singing the song, but we also wanted an excuse to invite our friends over to listen to it. We want that first edition of a James Joyce book because he might have touched it…. We’re looking for an excuse to be with each other…. Publishers have to give their customers an excuse to interact. If they aren’t doing that [online], it’s just another form of marketing.”

This was also a theme in the first talk of the morning, from Steven Abram, who said “Facebook is the new threat to publishers, not Google.”

Getting back to the talk. But if you want to follow the conference, there’s looking to be good coverage on O’Reilly’s new Tools of Change blog ( So far, we have the following coverage from the conference:

As well as some earlier posts:

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