John Blossom, Founder and Author of Content Nation

John Blossom, Founder and Author of Content Nation

In this podcast Lon Safko speaks with John Blossom, Founder of Content Nation and author of his book by the same name published by John Wiley & Sons. In this interview John explains why he web site and book are called “Content Nation”.  John explains that with 50,000,000 people blogging on a specific subject all in a trusted network with similar interests, that one blog population exceed the total population of many countries in the world.In this 38 minute interview John shares his enthusiasm for social media and the “democratizing of publishing”, where every person on the planet can communicate his or her thoughts for everyone else to see and comment on.

These interviews and other content have been released in anew book “The Sparks That Ignited The World” available on Amazon (  For a CD containing all 50 audio interviews totaling more than 24 hours of historic conversations, go to

“The Sparks That Ignited The World” Series

This blog is part of the series “Sparks”, which contains transcripts and links to the audio podcasts from the more than 50 historic interviews I did with the founders, pioneers, inventors, authors, and visionaries who who set the world on fire by creating something that change the lives of everyone on the planet.  We now call innovation “Social Media”.  They were the “The Sparks That Ignited The World”.

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An Interview with John Blossom, Founder and Author of Content Nation

An Interview With John Blossom, Founder and Author Of Content Nation

Hello, my name is Lon Safko, co-author of The Social Media Bible, published by John Wiley & Sons, the largest book every written on the subject of Social Media. Today, we’re here with John Blossom, the President of Shore Communications, Inc. and the Founder of Content Nation. John is also working on a book, Content Nation, which, coincidentally is also going to be published by John Wiley & Sons.

And we’re going to be talking about the book and we are going to be talking about his website and views on Social Media. And we’re also going to talk about what he means by the world as a nation of publishers, “Be a Citizen”. I think that is really cool. So let’s get started.

John can you tell our listeners a little bit, first of all, about who you are and what your background is?

JB: Thanks, Lon. Yes, I’ve been a consultant in the publishing and technology industry for over 10 years and we help publishers and content technology companies with their marketing strategy, including Social Media as one of the things that they need to get their hands around

I do a lot of analyses of the content industry. I’m always out there writing on my blog, Content Blogger and now on Content Nation, about what the trends are in the industry.

And a funny thing happened a couple of years back when Don Tapscott came out with his book, Wikinomics, which is a great book. I was reflecting on it and thinking about what the real scope of the influence of this Social Media trend might be, and I thought back to a web post that I had done a couple of years earlier. And I noticed something; I started adding

up things, if you will. And if you start looking at the current statistics, for example…if you add up all the people that are uploading videos in the world, roughly, looking at some stats from Universal Mccann International, a major ad firm, there are about 183 million people today uploading videos; 184 million people publishing web blogs; 248 million people uploading photos; and 272 million people with a social networking profiling services such as FaceBook and MySpace and what have you.

Needless to say, that’s a heck of a lot of people. But then I looked at some other research from the internet and they looked at, “How serious are these people? How many people are just playing around and how many people really want to do something?” And they came up with an interesting stat. They said that 27% of bloggers want to really influence other people’s thinking. And that really began to carve into some interesting numbers.

For example, if you go out there and you put that number against bloggers, that means there are about 59 million serious bloggers out there in the world trying to influence people.

LS: Wow.

JB: You add that up and that’s the 24th largest nation in the world, about the size of South Korea. If you take it off the Social Networker population out there, that’s about 74 million people. That would make it about the 16th largest nation in the world, about the size of Turkey.

So it began to dawn on me through these statistics that, really there are nation-sized groups of people out there publishing and wanting to influence other people thinking. And this completely dwarfs what we’re use to through traditional publishing media.

So I came up with a concept of “Content Nation”. And this idea of the world as a nation of publishers, what is beginning to make us feel united and common, increasingly, is this idea of publishing. The idea is that anybody can publish anything to anyone in a highly scalable fashion and in a highly accessible fashion through the tools of Social Media.

LS: Wow. One of the questions I had on my list was, “What is Content Nation?” And I never really thought about it that way. When you’re looking at 50, 60, 70, 80, 100 million people all with something in common, publishing in this particular case, and trying to influence others, you’re right! That’s as big as some of the major countries and nations in the world. I never thought of it that way. It’s kind of staggering.

JB: It is staggering, and we’re beginning to see how that begins to scale up in terms of its influence on marketing, its influence on enterprises, its influence on how people live their lives. And those that we begin to see, and what I outlined in the book, Content Nation, are some of the major trends that we’re beginning to see in those sorts of things; that this is not just about people posting web blogs and getting a little of influence; this is people whose influential publishing, either individually or on a mass scale, all of a sudden begins to change how the world happens and how the world begins to see itself.

One of the simplest examples I have in the very beginning of the book is the execution of Saddam Hussein.

LS: Huh.

JB: A few years ago he was tried and was being hung for the crimes he was found guilty of, and this was supposed to be a very highly controlled event, hush-hush. Well, what happened? Somebody at the execution has a cell phone with a video built in and was able to record this. And that got its way to the internet and before long it was completely around the world. So here we had the most powerful nation in the world, The United States, and a sovereign nation in theory, the State of Iraq, unable to control what was one of the most tightly- controlled acts by this those two nations, ever!

If you think about that balance of control, that really got me thinking about who’s really in charge here. The good news about social media, I think, is not that we’re looking at some sort of Marxist thing that’s happening. There is room in social media for the powerful in the world and the everyday people. And the beautiful thing about social media is that Content Nation is about empowering everybody to work together to make everybody’s lives better.

LS: And that’s one of the things that I really found exciting about Social Media a couple of years ago, when I first immersed myself into it that for the first time in history everybody gets a voice. Where 20 years ago you would have to have a half-million-dollar budget to advertise on T.V. or $25,000 budget to advertise on radio, or $10,000 for the newspaper. And writing books; when I went to my first publisher I was told I had a better chance getting struck by lightening than to get your book published.

JB: Exactly!

LS: But how cool is this! The tools are, for the first time, in the hands of the people.

JB: The hands of every-day people, and they’re also in the hands of marketers and other people who are trying to figure out, “Well, what is our relationship with people?” So it’s both of individuals are empowered, but also people in social systems and economic systems, are empowered to be able to work with one another more effectively. So we are creating more value for one another.

And for some companies, this can be a bit of a challenge, but other, including major companies out there are learning to accept that this is the way that they need to talk to the marketplace, and learning how to get contact out there that engages people and begins to build their brand as a personal brand along side other peoples personal brand.

So, Social Media is a very powerful way to communicate with people, but it’s also a powerful way for people to focus in, very rapidly and effectively, on what it is people really need and want and to be able to understand those needs rapidly and to deliver on them.

LS: Those are really good.
JB: One of my favorite examples, again, before I pause… LS: Yeah….

JB: …is Dell. Dell Computer, a major company, major problems in understanding the marketplace, because it’s just so huge, moving so rapidly. How did they find out what it is that people really want and how did they get it into their products? Well, you can do market research and traditional things and the life-cycle of doing that is so long that you’ll miss all your market opportunities.

They created an idea-collection website called “Idea Storm”, which is a Social Media site where people who are enthusiastic about Dell Products, that use them, can pump in ideas and problems that they are having. People who are a member of that site can click on individual things, vote on specific things that turn them on, and management and people who are working on the Dell-side of this portal can look at things that are happening and say, “Yeah, you’re right! We should be able to change this, this and this.

And then all of a sudden instead of waiting weeks, days, months, and years to get some of these changes in, all of a sudden on a regular basis you’re getting blog posts out of “my view” forums. And you say, “I think these are the six or seven things that we’re going to be putting into this month”, or this week.

And so all of a sudden your ability to have conversations with markets and to understand what it is that people really want and need, changes altogether.

LS: And I love that about Social Media. In doing some research I found the “Nuts for Southwest”, the Southwest Airline’s blog; they did exactly the same thing. They listened to their customers, and some of the bulk buyers wrote comments in the blog saying, “Instead of only signing three months out, you would really do a huge service if you could just move that and sell six-months out.” And that’s never been a policy at Southwest, but when they heard the customer’s actually asking for it, they questioned, “Why can’t we do that; let’s go ahead.” And they did and it was as huge success for Southwest, because they simply listened to their customers.

JB: Exactly! And they “listened” on a conversational basis; not as in traditional market research where you have the interviewer talking to the marketplace. It’s more of a conversational thing; it’s peers talking to peers, and as such saying, “You know, that sounds like a good idea.” And all of a sudden, (it’s) rapidly changing policies that might have taken “forever” or a long time, in any event, for a large company to change.

By the same token, I think that this empowers smaller economies and smaller businesses and smaller efforts at collaboration to come together very rapidly to create value in the marketplace. Because the technology is very affordable, or free oftentimes and highly scalable, all of a sudden people with good ideas can come into the marketplace, get visibility, be able to learn how to converse with the people in particular market segments that matter most to them, and be able to deliver to very niche markets, as well. So it’s part of what I call “The Big Sombrero Economy.” I’m sure you’re probably familiar with Chris Anderson of Wired magazine’s Long Tales, where he hypothesized that, “You’re going to have a lot of hits, and then there are a lot of things that are manufactured that dwindle off into very small sales, but at a very high rate.”

That’s all well and good for mass-manufactured goods that have a long life-cycle, but what I see with Social Media is that we’re getting into this curve that’s three-dimensional, and it’s curving up on the lip there; kind of like a big, fat sombrero that gets a little bit high-up on the ends there, and there’s a big, shady part underneath that lip.

I think through Social Media, we’re creating probably in the long run, more net value out of small market opportunities that can scale rapidly to immediate and essential needs that may or may not ever scale into mass markets; but in the sum total is probably greater than the mass market. So I think Social Media is helping global economies, and (also) very highly, local economies to scale very rapidly to very specific needs.

LS: That’s absolutely true. Those are very good points. I was privileged to interview David Meerman Scott of “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” and he reflects some of your thoughts here, that it really is changing the way we’re doing marketing. And the other thing that I’m hearing, I think if I have it correctly, is the ‘Long Tale” again is that you can make more money on less popular products than you can on the mainstream products if you simply listen to your customers and make them accessible.

JB: Absolutely, and you begin to understand that it’s not a matter of making more out of mass manufactured stuff but beginning to recognize that through social transactions you can define needs and wants more rapidly and respond to them more efficiently so that we’re getting into more of a marketplace where you’re talking either “mass-customization” or never going to “mass” in the first place, and meeting people’s needs on a very particular basis more effectively.

So Social Media, for example, helps hand-made goods. It helps people who are enthusiasts for sewing. It helps people in Third World economies that might be working on hand-made goods and they are trying to [13:31.0] at financing for it and be a “marketplace” for it. So it helps capital transfer in and out of the marketplace efficiently on many different levels.

And of course, it changes the way that people just plainly “live”. When you think of yourself as a publisher, the world changes. One of my favorite photos I have in the book (I’ve been compiling all sorts of illustrations in this and the on-line version of Content which I hope get in the print version) is of a concert crowd at the end of a concert. And not so many years ago, the tradition was (that) to get on encore performance was to hold up your butane cigarette lighter…

LS: Right! (Laughter)

JB: …and now we have the tradition of people holding up their cell phones and they are taking pictures of what’s happening there. As a matter of fact, Microsoft is now coming up with a product to try to capitalize on this idea of everybody sharing little clips of concerts, and what have you. They call it “Crowd Fire” This idea the performer is up there and the audience is responding and saying, “Guess what? We’re publishers too!”

And so, in a way, it’s the peers acknowledging…the peers saying, “You know what? Creativity is just a natural human thing.” And we’ve been doing it for so long. Creativity and publishing doesn’t have to come from the central source, but in fact, it can come from anywhere.

LS: That’s a really great point! In having conversations with Chris Heuer and Robert Scoble, they kept getting back to the emphasis on the word “social” in Social Media That really it’s the same thing that we’ve been doing for the last 10 thousand years. Whether it started with cave painting or it’s gotten into cell phones, it really is, “Let us not forget the human element and the “social” in Social Media!”

JB: Absolutely! I’m glad that you brought up the cave paintings because one of the things that really brought me to think about this and the needs in a broader sense was the idea of where did publishing really come from? And publishing was one of the tools that really helped to form human civilization as we know it.

We were going around there and we had informal contracts with people; “You give me some grains, I’ll give you some bauxite (or what have you)”. But all of a sudden, transactions got more complicated, laws got more complicated and you needed to organize people. So my contention in the book is that centralized publishing is what really formed human civilization as we know it. And then, in a sense, it was an extension of our DNA. We kind of leased out our code, of you will, of saying, “How do we operate as this organism called “civilization”. And publishing became an extension of our DNA; but as highly-centralized DNA that made for a big, lumbering, awkward animal that kept on getting big and then not being able to sustain itself, and falling over.

So as we begin to introduce Social Media into our highly technological society here, all of a sudden we don’t necessarily have to get big all the time. Our DNA has, in effect, become much more flexible as a civilization. We can be big when we need to be, but when we need to be small, flexible, and collaborative and take advantage of immediate opportunities, we can do so. And in that sense, I think that in a certain way we’re going back to our Ice Age roots. As people we were able to take advantage of things on the fly: (and) in a way now, like our Ice Age ancestors chasing the mammoth. Going out there, taking opportunities as they come, taking advantage of natural abundance rather than artificial scarcity, as a way to sustain our economy.

LS: Being adaptive!

JB: Being adaptive and being able to focus, not on saying, “I’ve got this and I’m going to make it hard for you to get”; but rather be able to say, “There’s lots of stuff out there. How can we find the best stuff now and share it?” And that attitude that comes way back from our hunting roots is being reflected in a lot of the collaboration and sharing of opportunities and rewards that we are seeing in Social Media.

LS: And that’s really true. If we look at some of the ancient tribes that are still in parts of Africa and South America, it’s actually only a few members of the tribe that actually goes out and hunts and brings back all of the meat. And that gets shared with the entire community.

JB: Exactly! And so, in the book I take that out to the nth degree. I look at some of the things that we do in basic human organization and at the end of the book I have a little bit of fun and I say, “Well, gee if that’s the case, if really we have the ability to organize so flexibly and yet also, on a relatively instant base like modern civilizations (then) we could do a lot of things in the future, couldn’t we?”

So if you have patience, get to Chapter 10, because I take you into the future of Social Media…50, 100, 1,000, 10,000 years from now. I won’t go through the details now because it’s kind of science fiction anyway, obviously. But I think it will get people thinking. It’s kind of fun!

LS: Well, I saw a summary on your website; really fascinating! As a matter of fact, I just read that particular blog just a short time ago. Can you tell us a little more about your website, why you founded it and how it works?

JB: Yes, Content Nation is open for anybody to join because we are a nation of publishers and I want this to be the Town Hall, if you will, of Social Media. It’s where people can come in, discuss topics, and post blogs if they would like. We try to filter out the PR stuff, sorry! But if you’ve got a topic that’s really cool on Social Media you can post it on our blog and you can participate in our forums, you can comment on the book chapters. And my presumption is that over time we’ll develop together another book between everybody in the world, and who’s to say what a “book” will be by the time that we’re doing that!

But it’s a place where everyone can get together and be part of this nation of publishers that’s out there. And, of course in the meantime, I’m out there pumping my blog for people to look at, and I comment on what’s happening in Social Media and try to frame it in a way that makes sense to people who are trying to profit from Social Media in their business and personal lives.

LS: Wow! And I notice that you’re a strong proponent of user-generated content and crowd sourcing and getting information from the people that participate in your blogs. How does that work into the book? Are you using some of that information? Are they….

JB: I’ve discovered that there’s kind of a pump-priming factor here,

LS: (Laughter) yeah!

JB: …as I think a lot of authors discover. I actually did use Social Media to get quite a few ideas for the book, but it turned out that I was using tools where I had social networks already in place. So a lot of content in the book was boot-strapped up from questions that put out on LinkedIn answers, queries that went out on FaceBook, things that were pumped out from my web blog and the newsletter that’s collected from it. And you know, at first I think that worked out a little bit better, for starters, because I think it takes a while for people to be able to say, “Yeah, I am a publisher. I am a part of Content Nation.”

I think once the book hits and people begin to “get it” as a result of having read the book and having buzzed on the book a bit, I think we’re going to see a lot more citizens coming forward. And I have some ideas that I’ll share at a later time, as to how we’re going to get people putting the “flag-lapel pin” so to speak, on for themselves and say, “Yeah, I really am a citizen of Content Nation. So I look forward to the citizens stopping by!

LS: And that’s one of the things that we struggled with when I did the original design for The Social Media Bible. At first I thought, “Well, okay we can do crowd sourcing”, like some of the other books out there where we basically ask people to, really, write the chapters, contribute and format it. And when we looked at some of the other books, we used”We Is Greater Than Me”, and we saw the lack of voice, we decided that that probably wasn’t the approach that we were going to take.

So what we ended up doing, initially, is bringing in over 1,000 people, volunteers, to come in and take a 20- minute survey to tell us, “What kind of book do you want to see? Do you want just another business book?” Because I though, originally, The Social Media Bible was going to “not” be a Bible, but a 250-page business book.

JB: Right.

LS: What we heard was they wanted two business books and a guide (like) tactics: “What the heck is Social Media?” In the middle part of the book they wanted a guide: “Who was playing in the Social Media field? What are the names of the companies; give me some information?”

JB: Yep.

LS: And then the last part was, “How do you actually apply it?” And the cool thing was that I don’t think anybody could have foreseen that that would be the structure of a book. Wiley’s never done one quite like it and I’ve never participated in a book like that. So I loved the user-generated content, because “we” really is greater than “me”.

JB: Yep, and that’s a great way to do market research. I think that what happens when you develop a book in Social Media, however you do it you develop conversations and I think you’re right. Just in terms of how books are edited and what sustains somebody reading a book vs. reading a blog, you do need that common voice, oftentimes, in a book to be able to pull things together. But what is it that really makes people feel that the book is useful? You have to ask them!

LS: And again, in the interviews that I’ve done in the past, it keeps coming back. No matter how sophisticated the 2007 SEO World Champion, Benj Arriola said, it keeps getting back to content. Listen to what your readers want, or your customers or your prospects, and just simply give them what they are asking for.

JB: Yep.

LS: But if you don’t listen, you don’t know what they want. Chris Heuer says, “God gave me two ears and one mouth; use them proportionally.”

JB: Absolutely!! And that’s why I’m blogging I love to listen to the comments. If you’re blogging I think one of the greatest faux pas you can do is not to respond to every good valid comment that’s on your web blog. Because it’s really about sustaining the conversation and validating that everybody that puts a comment on a blog or where every the post may be, is as valid a publisher as you are.

You have to be able to confirm the conversation!

LS: And that’s a really good point that I never thought about. You would assume that you would want to address both the positive and the negative comments, whether to say, “Thank you” or to write a rebuttal; but that’s absolutely true in a conversation. Everybody gets a chance to speak; one person does not speak after each person.

JB: Yeah, and sometimes you may have a negative comment on the blog. But you can address that politely. I think that the main thing that I need to watch, sometimes on my blogs is PR posts. I think the greatest enemy of Social Media is people in companies who’ve decided to use it as a way to put out messages and information that’s really not about a conversation, it’s really about dictation. It’s really about trying to push a centralized message out through as many channels as possible; and use blog posts comments and social networking groups as alternatives syndication channels.

And that’s really not the way to do it. It’s more important to be able to let the real value that comes through Social Media, through natural influence and endorsements that come through natural social relationships, to be able to shine through.

LS: And that’s another good point, too. Amanda Vega and I were talking and the morning that we interviewed she said that she had gotten included in a LinkedIn from someone (and we won’t mention any names) but they had blasted everybody, all the connections in LinkedIn with,”Hi, this is what I do for a living; I’m available for consulting; I’m available for speaking; click on my link and I’ll be happy to answer any question.” And the term she used was, “Boy, did she get flamed!”

JB: (Laughter)

LS: And appropriately so! That’s not what the intention is.

JB: Yeah, there are appropriate venues for that sort of thing. Whenever you’re doing things in Social Media, be you a company, an individual or any sort of organization, you have to remember that it’s like being at a conference. And you might be…you wouldn’t go into the middle of a circle of people talking in conference and do something like that. You might be up on a stage and have a few minutes of people being welcomed, to provide some sort of commercial messages like that; but in general in a conference that sort of thing is not really welcomed.

LS: Well, not anymore than a bunch of people sitting down to the table at lunch. JB: Exactly. So minding your P’s and Q’s that way are a very important thing and if effects writing style enormously. No only does Social Media encourage people to have more of a brief conversational style in their blog posts and what have you, but it seems to filter over into general journalism and writing, as well; and to a certain degree it’s difficult to say, at times, how much speech is influencing and how much writing is influencing speech…

LS: True!
JB: …and changing into this almost “text-ed” style of communicating with one another. Keep it brief, keep it

cogent, get your point across in 20 words or less, or 140 characters, I guess (to be exact).

People oftentimes will understand exactly what you mean, and respond.

LS: And one of the things that I noticed is that it did change according to traditional publishing, where you would build the story and give the punch line at the end. It is reversed now; “Tell me what you want to talk about? Let me read it and then if I want more detail, I’ll continue to read the story.”

JB: Exactly!
LS: That was a major change for me, to understand that.
JB: In a sense the world has become very good at writing headlines… LS: (Laugher) yeah!

JB: …if you look at what’s been happening with some of the breaking news that’s been coming through on text, either directly in phone text or on services such as Twitter; the world getting a lot better at being able to make its point. And that use to be a real art that was well buried in the newsroom of major news organizations.

Now, all of a sudden, everybody knows how to write a good 80-100 character headline…
LS: And that’s what…
JB: …to get the story’s point across.
LS: …like trying to keep anything I have to say in 140 characters or less, has been very stressful! (Laughter) JB: You know, Twitter has taught me a lot of things, I must say!

LS: (Laughter) before we go can you tell us a little bit about…like you said you worked with the publishing industry, and my experience with the publishing industry, and I’m working with John Wiley and Pearson…I’m seeing a lot of changes being influenced by Social Media. Can you give me a success story or some of the things that you are working on?

JB: Yeah. I think some of the things I’m seeing in the publishing industry come from by bias, I suppose. I grew up in electronic publishing. For a while I did work in a publishing company that had newsletters, magazines…as well as the research that I was working on at the time; so I’m familiar with the traditional publishers, as well.

But my publishing roots go back to Wall Street. I grew up with “real-time” tickers and scrolling news and what have you, and that’s the way that things were done. So in a way it’s funny as I see companies wrestling with Social Media, in a sense. On Wall Street many years ago I was working on Social Media long before it ever finally trickled down to the web…

LS: Yeah.

JB: …because “markets” are “conversations” as we know from the Clue Train Manifesto. And you go into your typical securities trading room and especially in the old days, and in many places even today, they had what they called the “squawk box” where people where shouting into a microphone to other people on telephone circuits, back in those days, all over the world just to be able to conduct deals.

So when Social Media came along and I read the Clue Train Manifesto back in ’99, all of a sudden it kind of clicked with me very quickly, “Wait a minute. We were doing this for a long time.” So when I look at my customers, oftentimes I’m looking at it from that perspective of saying, “Well, we’ve been doing conversations for a long time. How do you do that?”

I think some of the success stories I can think of in terms of what’s happening out there in publishing, are not necessarily from the traditional publishers. I think if you look at what’s happening in trade magazines, if you look at what’s happening in consumer media, you’re seeing comments, you’re seeing well-organized communities. There are a lot of good things out there. To me, a lot of the action is corporations and small businesses and individuals are doing in terms of success stories. The tools that help them build those sorts of things, I think, are one of the real success stories that are out there.

One of my favorite is the GM Fast Lane Blog, where you have senior executives from General Motors going out there and talking enthusiastically about their products. So you have Bob Lutz, who’s one of the chief proponents of hybrid plug and hybrid electric vehicles out there, saying has jazzed he was to drive one of the prototypes. And so, to me, the ability of marketers is to be about to communicate more directly through media, such as Social Media. I think that’s one of the big challenges that are out there in the publishing industry today.

As good as many of the things that are happening with traditional publishers, things like that are happening. Then on the enterprise side it’s also interesting in that publishers that use to have databases of information that people would search through, and they paid a good penny for that sort of thing. All of a sudden it’s more about getting content integrated into collaborative systems inside the enterprise. So, all of a sudden, they are challenged to come up with better price-points, more “value-add” I should say, with Social Media tools there. So you have folks like ProQuest that have tools that make it easy for people to build their own research databases, if you will, and to build them collaboratively.

Now you have a major magazine that’s out there with a Social Bookmarking tool that helps scientist be able to pull together research from all sorts of different places. Things of that sort, I think, are indicative of there being a lot of value out there for traditional publishers to pursue, but in a much different way than they’ve been use to.

LS: That’s really true. That’s a great insight because information is power and with the things like Wikipedia and some of the other vertical wikis, you know what, I use those sources, I use them often. I just jumped to the internet to gather my information where 10 years ago you’d have to have Nexus or some other type of research which was very, very expensive. And a small/medium company just could not afford that.

JB: Yep. And it’s also rethinking how you are packaging existing stuff. If you think of what an O’Reilly has been doing with the Rough Cuts program. Where people use to wait for the big, fat technology book to come out, and they still do that, but in Rough Cuts people are able to subscribe to the content as it’s being built, and that’s been a boom for technologists who need the most up-to-date information on cutting-edge technology. And the subscription to the book, in a way, turns out to be an advanced seminar, if you will; interacting with the author ad the content’s being built. So this whole idea of saying that, “Well, in books we assemble the material, then we edit it and then we put it out to everybody and then it’s consumed.” That get blown right out of the water, and all of a sudden…”What is content.” “What is a book publisher?”

A book publisher is somebody that is able to monetize and marked effectively the content that an author can produce, no matter where that content is in a particular life cycle.

LS: And they’ve not been known for that. That’s not their strong point.
JB: I’m sorry….
LS: Marketing is not really publisher’s strong point.
JB: Well, yeah, we’re putting out books for publishers, so I guess I have to be polite on that. LS: (Laughter) I’ve heard them say that, or I wouldn’t repeat it myself.

JB: And I think and to your point earlier about how your were talking about collecting information on the book; when you go out and ask people, what is it that you think is going to be successful for this book, you’re basically pre-engaging your marketplace.

LS: Right.

JB: And you’re saying, “Oh, good, this is what I want.” And I’m taking a slightly different angle with Content Nation and conversing with people that I have drawn materials from my LinkedIn research and things like that, building up the conversation and then feeding the book back to them and say, “What do you think?”

LS: Excellent. I love that. I mean, that’s the epitome of Social Media. I love it.
JB: Yeah.
LS: So, John, can you tell our listeners where they can find out more information about Content Nation.

JB: You can go to and when you land there you’ll see our blog post. You will also see it says, “Read the book.” So I encourage you to go read the book! It’s there now! Go out and read Content Nation and when it comes out in more, for some people, convenient form as an official book from Wiley, go out there and gift it to all your friends because that’s what we do at Content. We go out there and we use it in different forms for different social purposes.

So there are lots of good social purposes for buying that book, Content Nation, but in the meantime we encourage you to come to and be one of the many people around the world who are now citizens of Content Nation.

LS: John, those are great insights. I truly appreciate it. I would really like to thank you for being here today, truly.

JB: It’s my privilege and I look forward to being part of your project.

LS: How exciting. So today we are here with John Blossom, President of Shore Communications and Founder of Content Nation, the website, and the aggregating author of Content Nation, the book (also the author) and it is also published by John Wiley & Sons. I appreciate you being here.

And this has been Lon Safko, the co-author of The Social Media Bible. Please be sure to check out the other valuable media tactics, tools and strategies that can be found in the Social Media Bible book and its companion website,

For more information on me, Lon Safko, please by all means go to my website, And really truly again, John, thank you so much for being here today.
JB: Thank again, Lon. My privilege.

Lon Safko

Bestselling Author & International Keynote Speaker

Tags: Lon Safko, Bestselling Author, International Keynote Speaker, Innovative thinking, innovation, creative thinking, The Social Media Bible, The Fusion Marketing Bible, founders, Matt Mullenweg, Gary V

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