The Economist on New Media
Here’s a good article from the Economist that talks about various types of media and where things are heading. Some notable excerpts:
In the new-media era, audiences will occasionally be large, but often small, and usually tiny.
“We are entering an age of cultural richness and abundant choice that we've never seen before in history. Peer production is the most powerful industrial force of our time,” says Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine.
“Self-publishing by someone of average talent is not very interesting,” he says. “Talent is the new limited resource.”
The last quote above is from Barry Diller, the head of IAC/InterActiveCorp. Later in the article Diller is referred to as an “ignoramus” by Jerry Michalski, a consultant who also has a blog called Sociate. (Speaking of which, I see Diller just lost the head of his search business – Steve Berkowitz, a fellow I ultimately worked for a few years ago, just left Ask.com and is heading to Microsoft.)
My challenge has been and continues to be separating the good from the bad. There are way too many blogs to sample and it’s impossible to know if you’re really capturing feeds from all the best. Then, if you go too far and only read those with the highest rankings, are you becoming overly narrow and missing out on interesting, new and obscure viewpoints?
Much like hiring a new employee, I find references to be one of the most valuable resources for new content. I keep a close eye on all the feeds coming in through my Bloglines subscriptions. If one of them lists a couple of new blogs as their favorite or just something new that caught their eye, I take a look as well. I’d say that 90% of the new feeds I add to my Bloglines subscriptions are found this way; the other 10% are more random.
Rather than relying exclusively on computer rankings or the occasional reference from a trusted source, does it seem like there’s an opportunity for someone to create a better blog directory, built around the recommendations of experts who read all the posts/comments every single day? They wouldn’t just be aggregating the content…they would also comment on it, provide references to other related commentary, etc.
I know there have been some attempts at this, but they seem to have produced modest results. I’m talking about something as significant as USAToday, for example, having an entire section (online only, of course) dedicated to blogs, updated real-time, applying their editorial expertise to present and summarize the most interesting blogs (and posts) for all the major topic areas. If you trust USAToday for your news, and a lot of people obviously do, why wouldn’t you trust them for your blog news, feeds, etc.?
USAToday is just one example. Virtually any/all major news sources could be substituted for them in this scenario. (Steve Berkowitz, maybe you should think about this in your new MSN world...) Currently the major news sources seem to treat blogs like a sidebar item, something that’s here today and likely to disappear tomorrow, so why invest much? I’d like to see one of them step up and implement something like this – it’s a real opportunity to take a leadership position and help them look a lot less like “old media”.
"There are way too many blogs to sample and it’s impossible to know if you’re really capturing feeds from all the best. Then, if you go too far and only read those with the highest rankings, are you becoming overly narrow and missing out on interesting, new and obscure viewpoints?"
I think the problem with the blogs with the highest rankings is that they tend to only read each other, and because of that, end up repeating the same things. Reading one popular blog may be just as good as reading another very popular blog.
Posted by: Stacy | April 23, 2006 at 08:47 PM