Technology Can’t Replace Media Professionals

Technology is no substitute for media professionals.

Let me explain something. Whenever a new technology is introduced in any system, that system is then changed forever because of that technology infusion.

Since the democratization of the camera in smartphones, many people now can take photos as they wish and capture video footage with ease, which is a wonderful thing for many. However, professionals in communication have been affected by these advancements in cellphone technology because now everyone, technically speaking, has “broadcast” capabilities at their fingertips.

I am not saying everyone can now be a professional broadcaster and that photo and video professionals will cease to exist. What I am saying, however, is that many people now can broadcast their lives on social media without having to hire a professional communicator, which has impacted the field of communication forever.

One thing is for sure. The personal media market is gone, for good. See? A small part of what communicators used to offer can now be done without our assistance. You can do them simply by buying a smartphone!

Listen carefully to me and remember the following, compatriots. All these advancements in smartphone technology have had a tremendous impact in how we teach communication these days. The invasive nature of technology in a system, communication included, requires that system to significantly change the way it operates.

Not too many people realize that when an innovation is implemented by a critical mass of people in any society, the affected system often suffers significant consequences because of this new technology implementation. The systems that survive then need to adapt to the realities of the new technology and change accordingly. No technology advancement can be introduced to a system of any kind without fundamentally changing some of its parts.

Remember: Advancements in smartphone technology aren’t free, and this financial aspect will have an impact on what people do in Cleveland! Our community pays a price for not having more video and photo professionals in town.

These professionals of media buy groceries, eat at restaurants, buy houses and spend discretionary income in local shops. I am all for advancements in technology ,as long as people realize that they come with side effects. The field of media has been changed forever because of the smartphone.

I predict that in 10 years or so, most small-town portrait photographers will have a problem staying in business, because of advancements in smartphone camera apps. Only a handful of very talented photo and video professionals will exist in a small town near you! A “great eye” can’t be replaced by a microchip, yet.

Is the democratization of photo and video a problem for communicators? Yes, because many people now think that what we do is obsolete. In fact, nothing can be further from the truth.

The fact Americans can now capture video footage or take photos doesn’t mean they will have quality, or just as importantly, context. Video and audio professionals deserve a job because of what you can’t see.

Pre-production, which is a fancy name for preparation, is an essential part of what media professionals do. Is the average American now going to write scripts and draw storyboards for their productions? I don’t think so.

There is a lot of what we call post-production. Just because a person can capture video footage or take a photograph doesn’t mean that they will be able to make it look or feel good! You need a professional to make all of this work.

The threat, of course, is that many will be satisfied with capturing “good enough” media artifacts, which is where our field will be affected the most. The scary thing for us, however, is that many of you will take exactly this stance — which is likely to cause many media professionals to go out of business. This is precisely why departments of communication cannot afford to produce anything other than what is outstanding.

In sum, whenever a new technology is introduced in any system, that system is then changed forever because of that technology infusion.

Today, smartphone technology is having a major impact on our field of communication, due to the democratization of the device. Tomorrow, your field will be affected by it.

It is coming! The question: What are you doing to prepare for it?