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Image of Merlyn Reineke, Executive Director of Montgomerey Community Media

About Merlyn on Media

Merlyn Reineke is Executive Director of Montgomery Community Media, which provides media training and community-based content by-and-for the residents of Montgomery County. Merlyn’s blog focuses on all-things media, with an emphasis on how community-based media can make our county a better place to live, work and play.... Read more

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Image of Merlyn Reineke, Executive Director of Montgomerey Community Media

The Future Of MCM Is In Our Hands

Quick quiz: what company was the first in the world to patent a digital camera?

No, it wasn’t Sony, IBM or HP. It was Kodak… the century-old firm that all but invented and popularized photography. The innovative staff at Kodak actually invented the first digital camera and patented it. But Kodak was so wedded to its core film-based activities that it failed to see what it had in its own hands… the future. And the future passed it by.

After more than 130 years of business, Kodak filed for bankruptcy last year.

Another example of a company’s core business being challenged is Microsoft. Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, Microsoft dominated the desktop computer market through its operating systems. Yet the World Wide Web began to shift how people and businesses worked, communicated and played. Microsoft was resistant to change at first, but instead of entrenching itself and doubling-down on its core business, it recognized that the internet was a force too powerful to ignore. Bill Gates publicly admitted that he had been mistaken and transformed Microsoft’s platforms toward full internet connectivity. Microsoft remains a powerful force today because of this course correction.

Disruptive technologies are all around us, and new ones are being developed every day. We at Montgomery Community Media are very much wedded to one such technology: television. TV has been around a long time, and for more than 25 years, MCM has programmed television channels and taught Montgomery County residents how to us use them. This activity has empowered thousands of county residents to communicate their messages to the community. Montgomery County is a much better informed and engaged place because of it.

People still watch television, but they’re doing it in very different ways. Look at your own living room… is there a computer or internet-enabled television there? Do you timeshift programming? Do you check your email or do banking transactions in that space? Technologies of all kinds are transforming the way we interact with media… and the world around us.

Yes, television still matters… and I believe at MCM there will always be a place for residents to generate their own shows. Yet we must recognize that media today is so much more… and residents are looking for resources to help them understand these new technologies and how they can make their lives better. Huge conglomerates are already fighting over your living room… News Corp, NBC/Universal, Google, Facebook. We at MCM want YOU to control that experience by helping you generate your OWN media… blogs, videos of what’s going on in your neighborhood, etc.… and engage with the community around you in new and exciting ways. To do that, MCM must transform itself beyond television for the FEW into the media center for the MANY.

We have that future in our own hands today… but it will take hard work and courage to make the transformation happen.

Montgomery County is a dynamic, diverse place that deserves a world-class media center. Your support of and participation in MCM is the only way that can happen. My question is: are we Kodak or are we Microsoft, and can MCM recognize & respond to the changing world around us.

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Merlyn Reineke

About Merlyn Reineke

Merlyn Reineke is Executive Director of Montgomery Community Media, which provides media training and community-based content by-and-for the residents of Montgomery County.

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