How to tell if you have NOT arrived

If you have to write your own bio, because no one knows you, that’s when you know you have not arrived. That’s what I had to do Sunday night for a conference in Alaska coming up in a couple weeks. I guess I’m presenting — though I don’t yet know about what. I’ll just make it up. Anybody got a name for a hypothetical web 2.0 social network I can fake on the spot?

Anyway, I also had to pick out a photo to put out there so people can point, giggle, and say, “Aren’t you a little short to be a new media douchebag?”

Luckily, we just hosted a “Listening Room” for Down To The Wire on Sunday at the station, and we had a great photographer there, Brian Adams, who took this shot of me actually doing the new media deed for all to see (eeew!). Not too bad. And by the way, ladies, you can’t see my ring hand in the photo, but I’m taken. I know you’re disappointed.

Anyhoo… Check out this lame-o bi-o that will probably accompany the photo:

John Proffitt has immersed himself in new technologies and media since first working as a teaching assistant for a personal computing class 25 years ago — while still in middle school. Since then he’s earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English and education, later entering the fast-paced world of IT consulting and digital media. He’s worked in healthcare, manufacturing, banking and government contracting, developed content and software for a monthly CD-ROM magazine, built web sites and managed secure online transaction systems with support staffs as large as 21 and annual budgets of nearly $3 million. Raised on Sesame Street and enlightened by Morning Edition, he joined the public media ranks in 2004 at APTI in Anchorage. Today, he manages all radio, TV and web “streams” for KSKA-FM, KAKM-TV and APRN and explores new media methods as they intersects with the traditional missions of public broadcasting. He blogs and “tweets” with a network of contacts from NPR, PBS and major stations nationwide. Join him online at

Oh, yeah, I wanna hear this guy talk. Yeesh.

The worst part of the bio? It’s all true.

Inverted orbits

I’ll be explaining and exploring the purpose of this site in the coming days, but before I get into it too deeply, I want to start with a quote from the incomparable Umair Haque:

“…connected consumers … want firms to be citizens of their microcultures.”

This notion and its implications are the central subject of this site, though I’ll use a variety of metaphors to explore it. Such as astronomical metaphors.

I’ll be paying attention specifically to public media companies and how they’re affected by and can change to embrace the sweeping inversion of how media is both distributed and consumed in the opening decades of the 21st century.

Short Version: In the past, PBS and NPR and their associated local media outlets were the centers of their media solar systems. They pushed out lots of heat and energy and had such tremendous mass that viewers and listeners were pulled into orbit around them.

But now the solar system metaphor is inverting.

In an expanding media universe, the viewers and listeners and readers — the users — are at the center of their own solar systems, and the “gravity” of their attention pulls in media services of all kinds, commercial and noncommercial alike. Where once we were the sun, today we are mere planets. Or if we fail to change, we’ll be comets, snuffed out after a few passes.

Never again will we — the public media purveyors — be the star at the center of the solar system. We must now begin to authentically grapple with this reversal of media economics and change our DNA (another Haquism) to engage with the public in new ways. We may not be the center any longer, but perhaps we can be an important planet in our users’ solar systems.

Maybe that’s a good introduction, and maybe not. Stay tuned for more. And comment away if that made absolutely no sense.