Last week at AlwaysOn, Tony Perkins moderated a panel of some really great voices who are either building social media platforms and tools or using them. In a discussion that addressed the question whether we are better off in the new open media revolution, we heard from TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, rapper and singer Chamillionaire of Chamillitary Entertainment, Robert Scoble now with Rackspace, Quentin Hardy of Forbes and Six Apart’s CEO Chris Alden.

I captured the panel in five videos – you can either view one or all of them below. A few great observations and quotes I thought were worth summarizing.

“I don’t like silos and I don’t like things that don’t communicate and share with each other – why are we investing in more silos?” asks Scoble about new tools that are coming to market and are another silo rather than a tool that integrates and communicates with the world where you already live online.

Other issues come up, “Discovery of good content is still a huge problem,” says Chris Alden who is a big believer in discovery of social content. “We all figure out what we’re going to read based on our social graph.” He also adds that Twitter lets publishers be less dependent on Google which is becoming tremendously useful.

On content and the ‘amount of it,’ we all have to weed through and compete with, Chamillionaire adds with wit and humor: “I have to compete with crazy content up there – like a bomber rapping gets drunk and then gets hit by a car and then a naked girl kisses it or a crazy cat jumping up and down.” We all laugh – how could you not? It’s not only true but he says it with such authenticity that you almost have to laugh at the mediocrity we’re faced with that gets attention, otherwise you’d cry.

“The question is,” says Tony, “are we better off? Scoble, I and Arrington don’t have to get ‘real jobs’ because of the open media revolution and WE ARE better off. The new media revolution has enabled that. Chamillionaire gets more access, but are we all better off as an industry?”

Scoble says, “we’re in the cycle between the old school and new school – by having more people connected on the network, we’re getting access to better and more information. The City Council isn’t get covered in the same way it was ten years ago and they haven’t invested in a new way yet, but the mayor can blog, the guy who sits on a City Council can blog, the guy who builds houses can blog and they can all tweet. Chamillionaire challenges and wonders whether its really BETTER information though.

I don’t worry about the openness, or the ‘free’ but I worry about the opposite,” says Alden. “Look at the control in Iran and China. Even here, more control is happening aorund us.”

In the music world, Chamillionaire says he preaches to his colleagues that they need to have equity in something. He says, “I have a friend who worked for a radio station for 14 years and then got laid off. Now what? He has no brand, no equity, nothing.” It upsets him that people just keep chasing the next pay check.

Perkins asks the panel for predictions on where we’re going to be in 5 years. Their responses below:

5 Year Predictions:

Chris Alden: “BusinessWeek will go for less than $5 million, a ham sandwich. Newsweek will be up for a fire sale…..there will be a few smart ones that will survive. You’ll see a migration of talented people from traditional media who are going to say I can build my own media empire. You’ll see a different landscape – news will come from independent sites.”

Quentin Hardy: “It’s going to be pretty freaky in ways we don’t even understand yet. People always imitate the old model because that’s all they know. TV started out looking like radio and Internet started looking like magazines and newspapers. We’re still looking at the pre-existing model of advertising – we’re still trying to figure that out and how we’re going to get paid that isn’t advertising and we need to get figure that.”

Robert Scoble: “We’ll be able to talk to devices and that’s going to happen to media as well. Show me the Mercury News, or show me all the information about Chamillionaire or put his music on my phone because I’m not familiar with him and I’m sitting next to him right now. It’s going to be revolutionary. This will be part of our everyday life in 5 years – our devices will be communicating with us and vice versa.”

Chamillionaire: “The record people who are controlling agencies and musicians are either going to get smart and hang with you guys (meaning tech industry), or they’ll be dinosaurs and drop off the grid. They’re either going to try to stop it or get a piece of it. The rest of them will die off. Technology is growing. Even though I’m an old school person, I’m also a new school person. I use Sidekick but I also have an iPhone. I study the old and the new and use both. I feel like it’s going to change pretty dramatically and I’ll be here taking advice and stealing as much information from you.” (again, meaning his pals in the tech industry.

Mike Arrington: Whenever there are predictions, they’re wrong. Steve Jobs didn’t put the iPad team together until December 2008, but they didn’t start going hard at it a little over a year ago. I don’t think predictions are that interesting. Things are changing so fast that we don’t know what is going to happen around the corner and that’s what I love about it.”

Tony Perkins: “I think devices like iPad and the Kindle will create a renaissance — we’ve gotten used to reading very short pieces lately. Writing long form books and thought provoking pieces still provide a lot of value and we’ve been missing out on those because we haven’t had the right form factor. In the future, we will. There’s going to be advancement in something along the lines of ‘engagement advertising’ as well.”

Below are five videos that captured the entire discussion:

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