Dave Winer’s advice to Keith Olbermann

This post doesn’t depend on knowing who Dave Winer or Keith Olbermann is (are?). It’s about media and brand. My favorite part of Mr. Winer’s advice:

“…the future of communication is not about the bottleneck that MSNBC and their competitors control. I don’t think you really need them. Unless of course you need to make $5 million a year, in which case you probably do need them. But if what you’re interested in is power to influence public opinion, and becoming more relevant over time, not more niched over time — if being influential is what you’re about, they really did you a favor.

So here’s what I recommend. Borrow a page from Conan O’Brien’s playbook, and use the social network to communicate with your fans.

Get a video camera and put it in your living room or den at home. Hit Record. Sit down in front of the camera and rant for 15 minutes. You can do that, I’m sure. Then without any production at all, upload it to YouTube and send the link around on Twitter. The first time you do it, it will be the most watched video of the day. Far more people will see it than used to see you on MSNBC, or O’Reilly or Beck or any of them. Depending on how fresh and interesting it is, and how real it is, and how compelling you really are (I know that’s a lot of “depends”) there won’t be much of a dropoff on Day 2 and 3 and so on. Now you’ve got your own network. And no one can shut you down. And you’ll have a lot more people watching you.”

Leo Laporte has done such an amazing job of this. Same for Arianna Huffington, and I’m sure there are others that don’t come to mind. Begs the question: Who owns the Keith Olbermann brand? MSNBC/Comcast? Or Keith Olbermann? Who owns your brand? Have you established a brand? What is it and where can I find it?

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