We all know that the Internet has changed just about everything related to the way we live and work. That was apparent as I looked at this month’s features. Whether the subject is business and the media or volunteering and philanthropy or even finding romance, people increasingly turn to the Web as a primary source of information.
I’m even more amazed when I think about how relatively new this change is and how quickly all of us have adapted to it. Even a few years ago, singles were reluctant to admit that they had signed up on match.com or any of the many matchmaking sites, lest friends think they were desperate. Who would have thought that my cousin would meet the man who is now her husband in a “chat room” for runners in the San Francisco area? Or that my friend’s daughter (from Darien) and her new husband (from Pennsylvania) would discover each other on eharmony.com?
Of course, not all dating relationships that begin with an online introduction end happily ever after. But it’s safe to say that the Web has become ubiquitous in today’s dating scene. To learn more, check out “Cyber Connection” by Walt Kita.
It may be less surprising to realize the Internet’s impact on information-based businesses like publishing and television — and by extension on advertising and even retail. We take for granted that news coverage is available 24/7 and that almost any product can be purchased online. So how do magazines and television remain relevant in today’s world?
That is the question we put to three industry leaders — Kerry Smith, owner of Red 7 Media; Peter Hunsinger, publisher of GQ magazine; and Michael Bair, president of MSG Media. All acknowledged that the Internet had profoundly impacted their business. As writer Bill Slocum reports, Hunsinger even asked Chad Hurley, cofounder of YouTube, “Am I riding a dinosaur here?”
So far the answer is no — or at least not yet. In fact, despite challenges, each business leader seems to have found a way to evolve and meet the competition head-on. One key is that the public is still interested in content, albeit delivered in new ways. In addition, our interviewees believe that having a recognized brand is an advantage in a world that seems to offer almost infinite choices. To get a closer look at their individual approaches, turn to “Old Media; New Strategies.”
Even in the nonprofit arena, prospective donors, especially those in their twenties and thirties, increasingly turn to the Internet. Recognizing this potential, the popular site Facebook has started Causes on Facebook, which encourages fundraising. Nearly 500,000 Facebook members have signed up to participate.
This is only one aspect of philanthropy that writer Leslie Chess Feller explores in “Leading the Way.” You might notice that the individuals profiled in this article are hands-on volunteers. In an increasingly virtual world, it’s encouraging to see that there’s still a place for face-to-face contact.
See you next month!