But it’s going to last longer. With 250,000 missives to sift through, employees of every ‘serious’ media outlet will be gainfully employed for weeks piecing together interesting story-lines from the quirky, to the worrying to the downright outrageous.
As @richardbacon (of all people) said on Twitter last night: “some of these wikileak revelations are astonishing: http://bit.ly/e4toHn”. (great Guardian journalism by the way).
The wikileaks affair (or #cablegate as it’s known on Twitter), is a lesson in how the web has changed the information economy for good. It is the ultimate embodiment of freedom of information.
But it will also be an education in the role of the Editor. With 251,287 potential stories to publish, the media will have many difficult calls to make on which ones are the biggest news and which ones make the most compelling content (the Sun has already shown its cards, I’m surprised they missed the ‘Ghaddaffi’s Ukrainian Nurse’ opportunity: http://bit.ly/hvclv3).
It will also pit editors against citizen journalists, the ‘editorial filter’ against the ‘social filter’. With 250,000 potential scoops, anyone, from a blogger to CNN, has the opportunity to find a nugget of gold or help form opinion. Wikileaks is like a gold rush for information. Everyone will be at it. This is a time of true 'media democracy'.And brands should take notice. Why? Well…
1. It’ll be a lesson in content: aside from which stories make headlines, it’s a great opportunity to listen online (Twitter, forums, etc) and find out what kind of story drives online buzz.
2. It just got competitive: Cablegate gives the press enough to fill their pages 100x over from here until 2011, so you need to be even more creative with your brand to get profile.
3. Milk the agenda: such a huge agenda point gives brands an opportunity so they should explore whether they can relevantly (seriously or amusingly) get involved in the debate.
4. It could happen to them: already people are asking whether wikileaks should divert its energy towards corporate as well as government targets (http://reddit.com/eczv1). Beware.5. Learn from the zeitgeist: Cablegate will create a whole new set of cultural reference points, brands should think like pundits and commentators to remain relevant.