So many people around the web are doing great things when it comes to new and social media. Because we believe that these kinds of media have the power to make positive change, we decided to start interviewing some of the people and groups that are using new media in creative ways to make their communities, both local and global, a better place. And there’s no better person to kick off our series of interviews than Adam Shake, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Simple Earth Media.
Back in November, Shake and Sean Daily founded the environmental media network that now includes 7 top environmental blogs: Green Living Ideas, Blue Living Ideas, Eco Child’s Play, Twilight Earth, GreenTalk Radio, EcoTech Daily and Natural Papa. The result is a comprehensive conglomerate that’s committed to helping to protect the environment and promote healthy, sustainable lifestyles. And with a tagline of “New Media Making a Difference,” we couldn’t help but ask Shake for an interview.
After doing an interview for Sean’s Green Talk Radio, we both realized that our environmental visions aligned in a way that got us thinking about working together. We realized that the environmental and sustainable online media genres are really broad based and within those fields, there are a lot of complainants. We both owned a number of environmentally focused websites so it made perfect sense for us to join forces and create Simple Earth Media.
How is new media helping reshape the environmental/green movement?
Blogging has come a long way in just the last five years. A typical blog used to be almost strictly about the person who was writing the blog, their daily lives, what they ate for dinner or how their cat was feeling that day. Since then, blogs have become a staple news source with media companies like CNN, Reuters and The New York Times running stories based on information coming from Blogs.
One of the things that new media has going for it that old media “print” does not, is that new media is updated 24 hours a day. A breaking story can hit a blog within minutes where a traditional newspaper or even television or radio show may take hours. People are using new media to get the information they want, right now.
Not everyone has jumped on the new media bandwagon, how do you reach out to people that maybe aren’t used to getting news and information via new media channels like blogging?
The power of new media to reach out to people across a wide spectrum, is amazing. As an example, Twilight Earth has 25,000 followers on Twitter alone, but as a group of websites under Simple Earth Media, we have almost 70,000 people from all over the world following our sites. Combined with 7 Facebook fan pages and utilizing social media tools such as Digg and Stumble Upon, our combined readership is over half a million a month.
At Simple Earth Media, we are also very active in our communities. We attend environmental functions, conferences, fundraisers and we belong to environmental clubs and groups. We participate in trash cleanups, peaceful protests and a number of other related activities. I think the easiest way to reach out to people, is to live the life that you are writing about, share your information with as many people as you can and lead by example.
There are many benefits to new media, but a complaint is often that we are inundated with too much information that our brain isn’t really capable of handling. What are your thoughts on that?
You’re right, there is a lot of information out there and much of it seems to be the same. As I write this, world leaders are meeting in Copenhagen for the Cop15 Climate Talks. It seems as if the Internet is inundated with this news and we’ve actually written close to a dozen articles about what Cop15 is, what it means to the world, and how the talks are progressing. We’ve also got 3 Journalists on the ground over there, who are reporting back to us and sending us video.
There is a lot of information, but a lot of it is important too. Until recently, most of the environmental blogosphere was about “How to Go Green.” In fact, I think that if I see one more article titled “10 Ways to Go Green”, I’m going to get sick. And everyone else is getting sick of it too. Everyone knows how to do it. What people want to know now, is “Why” they should do it. Things like Carbon Sequestration, Cap and Trade, Clean Coal, and the science behind Climate Change are things that your average person are either to busy to learn about on their own or not interested in. These terms have become buzz words that have lost their meaning. If we are going to make lasting change, than people need to know why they should change, how it will benefit them and their future generations.
I always say that Environmentalism isn’t about the environment, its about the people. Here are 3 examples of why that is true and also why people should care about the environment.
- 120,000 people die every year in the United States alone, from breathing fine particulate matter from coal burning power plants.
- Bass from over 200 streams and rivers were tested in the United States and 100% of them contained mercury from coal burning power plants.
- Infants exposed to coal residue have a lower IQ than average.
Where do you get your news from?
We get a lot of our news from the government, the EPA, the IPCC, interviews that we do with leading experts, first hand journalism and trusted sources of major media news.
What are 3 blogs that we should all be reading?
Simple Earth Media is definitely about using new media for positive change. How would you encourage people that want to take part in the movement to do the same?
If you are passionate about creating a healthy world through planet care, then there are three ways you can use social media to share your news and views. Most large websites are always looking for good writers and most good writers start out as Guest Bloggers on those sites. This is a great way to get started because it gives the writer more exposure to a wider audience than that writer may be able to get on their own, just starting out. Starting a site of your own, familiarizing yourself with social media tools and gaining a core audience through your website, Twitter and Facebook are things that take time, but if you are passionate about what you are doing, and you are doing it for the right reasons, it will show in your work and people will be interested in what you have to say.
The most important thing though, and one thing that a lot of people don’t do, is promote other peoples work, network and create real life relationships. Email, Phone, Tweet and Skype with people who are doing the same things that you are doing. Help them and promote their work. (If it’s great material) In the end, it’s about getting the word out. It’s not about the author, its about humanity.
Thanks so much!