Post 51:08 My Big Questions

I think I get all things 2.0 I get the move from one way push by publishers to push accompanied by conversation.

What I don’t get is the way this apparently represents a colossal threat to traditional media, for two reasons.

1. It seems to me that someone still has to aggregate content and that the type of content people most people appreciate will very often be assembled by someone practising journalism. This story, for example, shows how blogs are basically doing all the things that MSM has done for years, namely fight like mad to gather information of higher value than their rivals, faster than their rivals can present it.

Sure Gizmodo and Engadget (the subjects of the story) do not present their content as journalism. But the process that goes into its creation is so eerily similar to journalism as to be, IMHO, practically indistinguishable from journalism. And the fact that both aggregate content makes them, again, practically indistinguishable from the media outlets of today. This makes them ideal ways to do what MSM does today, namely flog ads based on the quality of their audience.

2. I wonder who the creators are and how many there are. Sure, there is a lot of content being created. But is everybody really going to be a creator? I see TV ratings for the most banal programs – like the 6:30 current affairs shows and reality TV – capturing millions of people every night. These programs are, to me, just rubbish. Yet millions watch them. Or soaps. Are these people really going to stop passive media consumption and go 2.0?

The addendum to my Big Questions is that I know TV viewing is in decline. I also know that people now spend more time interacting with more media. An answer I often get is that “Gen Y are living this way,” but I also know that one day Gen Y will have jobs, families and less time than they do now.

Anyway, feel free to enlighten my confusion or ignorance.

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3 thoughts on “Post 51:08 My Big Questions

  1. The immediate threat doesn’t come from audiences abandoning mainstream media in favour of social media. It comes from marketers and individuals abandoning mainstream media advertising in favour of online advertising (especially classified advertising) and other marketing displines.

    Naturally, this isn’t an issue for any social media creator that happens to be motivated by self-promotion, love or experimentation rather than the occasional Google AdWord cheque.

  2. Steven has it nailed. In these matters it always pays to follow the money trail.

    Traditional media companies make money by using words, sounds and pictures (moving or otherwise) to attract an audience which could then be sold to advertisers. This is relatively expensive, but the rewards can be handsome when done well.

    As you’ve noted, some people (for example Gizmodo) essentially use a similar model to make money from Web 2.0. The conversation part of the equation simply adds value — a bit like souped up “letters to the editor” or talkback radio. This is cheaper to produce than mainstream media, but still requires ‘journalists’ and other hired help to produce content.

    This part of Web 2.0 is more evolutionary than revolutionary. The threat here comes from a more efficient business model.

    But there are also a lot of Web 2.0 operations, for example Facebook, which just clip the ticket as traffic passes through. In a way these applications have, like Gmail, found a way to make money from conversations which may have taken place in the past without anyone earning a dollar from it.

    Like you, I can’t see this being a threat to traditional media.

  3. Pingback: Post 55:08 Is a social media bust coming? « JargonMaster

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