By Tolga Ayakta
Introduction to Electronic Media Class

1. What are you chief responsibilities in your current job related to electronic media?

On my day to day job, I am expected to use electronic media to perform my job. We can consider email, Twitter, Facebook, Link, Communicator and all other online communication platforms as parts of electronic media. We use all of these tools to communicate with one another in the work environment. We, as Microsoft, operate in more than 130 countries in the world. We often create virtual teams with professionals from all around the world to complete projects. So, all of the electronic media instruments seriously help us in order to get the job done.

2. What are the benefits of electronic media to you and to your company?

There are many benefits of electronic media to me. For example, one is the ‘real-time’ availability of information. Another benefit is the environmental friendliness of electronic media. Using the benefits of electronic media, we can engage in conversations with our customers, we can provide information, we can acquire genuine feedback, and we can promote our products. To be honest, the benefits are almost limitless and as Microsoft, we work on expanding such services to make the world a better place for everyone.

3. Which media companies, businesses and delivery models and platforms do you consider to be sustainable and which ones will go to the wall?

In the US market, newspapers, magazines, and even TV networks are at high risk and are most likely to go to the wall in the near future if they fail to catch up with technology and innovate. We see companies like Barnes & Noble moving to an electronic media with Nook to stay in business. Another example is Blockbuster where they have gone bankrupt since they have failed to innovate and catch up with its competitors like NetFlix and Redbox. The pace of change is significantly faster in today’s world and I am not at any discretion to say any market or model is sustainable but the trends show that you have to delight your consumers with technology to continue to do business. In other words, innovation is the key pillar to be in the competition.

4. How much does Microsoft focus on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter?

The presence of Microsoft in social media is massive. We have several Facebook pages and several Twitter accounts designated for specific products and services. There is a lot of emphasis on our Facebook pages. Some users rather see updates about our services on their ‘news feed’ than surfing to Microsoft.com. Our goal is to create efficient and effective communication channels that our customers can navigate through easily. Also, we try to use Twitter efficiently to keep in touch with our followers. We realize not everybody is going to come to Microsoft.com, so these social platforms give us an opportunity to offer an alternative to our customers. However, Microsoft.com is the centerpiece of our operation. We can even consider our Web site as a social network in itself. This is for the reason that there are 1.7 billion hits a day on Microsoft.com which makes it the biggest Web site in the world right now.

5. What projects are you as Microsoft currently engaged in on a day to day basis and how are these helping to change the face of the media and technology industries?

MSN, Wonderwall, Emporia, Microsoft.com are only just a couple of examples of how Microsoft continues to be engaged with its customers in the new face of media. These products also show how Microsoft stays relevant to consumers as a technology leader and innovation company in the industry. As the company moves to a digitized processes platform where almost every process in the company is executed electronically, our customers will hugely benefit from such change which has a positive impact on the electronic media provided.

6. What does the global media industry 10 years from now look like from your point of view?

All media will have to transform into electronic as new technological form factors become available for consumers. New media trends will form with the innovation of new products and companies will reach their customers through these new mediums. Perhaps, hard cover newspapers and magazines will disappear or mobile gadgets will surpass desktop computers. When I look at the pace of technology we witness today, I think 10 years from now things are going to be significantly different.

7. How can electronic media be effectively used at the political debates? Does the content on electronic media influence you on your political opinions?

I think it was extremely helpful for President Obama to use the mediums such as My.BarackObama.com, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to reach out to millions of his followers. That was something he had over his opponent to influence voters when he was in the political debates. Obama’s social media strategy in 2008 has revolutionized the use of Web as a political tool. However, I believe 2012 elections are likely to be very different from 2008 elections in terms of the use of electronic media. We can predict that mobile gadgets, data mining and location tracking technologies will be crucial parts of 2012 campaigns. It will certainly be exciting for us to see these technologies transform into political devices.

8. Generally speaking, where do you feel electronic media efforts are excelling or lacking?

Electronic media is excelling in providing endless information to the consumer, but that is a blessing and a curse. The lack of intelligence that a search engine like Google provides is a burden on the consumer to get the content you want. I see Bing do a better job in this area as it provides the relevant content that is looked for by the consumer. It is to provide a solution to a problem in a smart way versus providing dumb information.

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