Trylon Communications  - March 2005

CGM: It’s all the rage

Consumer generated media (CGM) is a very popular phrase today. From podcasting to blogging, the average Joe is contributing to the news world more than ever. One stirring example: the number of video feeds of the tsunami disaster created by citizens using video cameras.

Now a couple of Web veterans hope to use CGM to create “hyperlocal” content appearing in context with overall news stories and reports. Frank Barnako of CBS Marketwatch recently reported (see story) on the proposed development of a “back fence” plan to generate local news produced by local community members themselves.

Mark Potts, a founder of Washington Post Online and his partner, Susan DeFife, who founded, hope to harness the popularity of blogging and the energy of independent news Web sites to build a national network of "hyperlocal" sites.

Instead of editors deciding what reports are generated, community members can post a story on their local reporting site. Then their neighbors can comment on it. Even if someone just has a question about a local issue, it could generate responses from community members.

This puts a new spin on a Trylon newsletter story from 2003, The Overlooked Media, which discussed the value of local media relations. Larger media companies will be able to use these local sites to provide their audiences with essential local content and reporting - while distancing themselves from production values that may not reach their own level of sophistication.

This type of community-generated media can have a great effect on future PR plans. While posting stories just to generate buzz might generate backlash, responding as an expert to questions or stories directly relevant to your company can help establish you as an authority on the topic and a voice in the community.