Me Twittering the BajaDoug Haslem’s guest article on Media Bullseye, “Social Media and the Changing Nature of Conferences,” is an interesting look into the issue of exclusivity of content in the age of Web 2.0. He offers scenarios and questions concerning our right as citizen journalists, niche network feeders and influencers to report events, meetings, announcements and conferences in domains previously dominated in coverage by traditional media.

I commented on the article, but wanted to open the discussion here as well. Here’s what I had to say:

“Great article, Doug. The one thing that struck me during reading was that exclusive live rights cannot hold under the pressure of an audience of citizen journalists. The law is going to change because of microblogging and mobile technologies.

And it should. As the primary source for an individuals media shifts from mainstream to niche and from traditional to within one’s network, no longer can organizations, events or governing bodies expect to maintain a stranglehold on the rights to what they do.

If you weren’t in the crowd at the NCAA Baseball Regionals here in Louisville last spring and weren’t watching on TV, Brian Bennett was your source for information. This time, the NCAA won. Next time, someone (say Jason Falls) sitting in the crowd and not subject to press box rules, might be Twittering it. As long as people know where to go, the information will get out. And with 5,000 people sitting there, chances are, I won’t be the only one Twittering the event.

It will take a lawsuit and someone willing to fight for our right to be citizen journalists. But we’ll win. Mark my word.

Here’s what I think will evolve over the next 2-5 years as a result of the rise of citizen journalists and niche influencers equipped with texting, Twittering and mobile communications conduits:

  1. Conferences, events, governing bodies and companies who are “it-getters” will be lauded by us as such and keep lines of communication (inbound, outbound and sideways) wide open.
  2. Conference, events, governing bodies and companies who don’t will see sudden plummets in credibility and popularity unless they devise alternative communications methods which engage the users rather than alienate them. (Keep Twitterers occupied during conferences by ensuring your content is engaging.)
  3. Someone, somewhere will be fined, thrown out or otherwise penalized for using his or her cell phone at a baseball game, a convention or a public gathering for a corporation and sue the bejeezus out of the sponsoring agency. With the right attorney, exclusivity will be a thing of the past. He who Tweets fastest will win.

I won’t offer any specific predictions, but my friends will tell you who the plaintiff in No. 3 is most likely to be. I’m just too much of a smartass to stop reporting because some conference official or security guard tells me to. I’ll Twitter until they arrest me, then Twitter that, just to prove a point.

What are your predictions for Web 2.0′s effect on exclusivity and the law. And do you know any good lawyers?

IMAGE: Me Twittering the Baja. Will I be allowed to in the future? (Well, yes. It’s in Mexico. They have no laws there, but that’s not the point.)

[tags]exclusive rights, exclusivity, media ethics, media law, microblogging, citizen journalism, citizen journalists, Web 2.0, software, revolution[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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