January 18th, 2006

Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0

by

There may or may not be a Web 2.0 crash coming, as Steve Rubel has predicted, but there’s certainly blood in the water, with Yahoo’s earnings miss, Gather.com’s bad reviews, the demise of SearchFox, and the gathering buzz about an impending crash. Steve thinks a key factor is that “online advertising isn’t growing as fast as we would all like to think or hope” — online advertising is still on a steep upward curve, but Steve’s probably right that there’s not enough to go around, and the market will have to get rid of the Web 2.0 chafe.

I think another big problem is that Web 2.0 is driving Media 2.0 (or “New Media,” the other term I’ve been using). I’ve argued that if Media 2.0/New Media is based on Web 2.0 applications, it’s going to overwhelm the average person. Web 2.0 is a great platform for building applications that make everyday tasks easier, e.g. Google (search), eBay (sell/buy), Amazon reviews/recommendations (shop), and Flickr (organize/share photos) — I think Flickr is the poster child for successful Web 2.0 applications.

Here’s the problem — Web 2.0 is not a great platform for helping the average person consume media.

Consumer-created media is transforming the content landscape for the better, and consumer-controlled media is undoubtedly the new paradigm. But the average person does not have much time (if any) to spend creating media and has patience for only a finite amount of choice. Bloggers and others who put a lot of time and effort into media consumption and media creation are outliers — people may want something more customized than the morning paper, but they still want the simplicity and leisure feel. Media based on Web 2.0 is just too hard.

Mitch Shapiro, over at IP&Democracy, understands the problem and has an interesting meditation on Memeorandum, in which he acknowledges that next generation of functionality (e.g. highly-customized RSS feeds) still “wouldn’t reach the ‘ease of use’ levels provided by Media 1.0 publishers.” Static media is on its way out, but “ease of use” remains the currency.

That’s why I’m not jumping on the Newsvine bandwagon. I think it’s a great application for bloggers and other cybergeeks, but it’s WAY too much work for the average person. So is Digg, and so is del.icio.us — most people don’t have time to do a lot of voting, tagging, saving, and commenting — there’s already too much filing and sorting to do at work and with the monthly bills. For the average person, media consumption consists of reading or viewing and then moving on to something else.

As happened with Wikipedia, a hardcore group of users may turn Newsvine into a successful site, but most people will just browse — they won’t participate. And a lot of people will be bewildered and turned off.

Contrast these Web.20 media sites, which make the task at hand (media consumption) more difficult, with Flickr, which makes the task at hand (organizing/sharing pictures) easier. Here are some numbers to consider. First, compare the traffic curves for Flikr and Digg:

Flickr vs. Digg

I would argue the difference here is that Flickr has broken through into the mainstream, while Digg is limited to the “technorati” (to borrow an elitist term). Compare Flickr to de.lici.us and you see the same thing:

Flickr vs. de.licio.us

No doubt I will get lectured on technology adoption rates, but before you lecture, think about whether your own experience with technology represents that of the average person — I use the term “average person” on purpose, because I think the media habits of those in the blogosphere (which pretty much overlaps with power users of Web 2.0) are not representative of mainstream media consumers.

For bloggers and other people with the drive to create their own media, Web 2.0 media applications give them the infinite control they crave. But for the average person, what pressing problem does Newsvine, Digg, or de.licious solve? (Don’t get me started on RSS — I’ll put on my body armor and do that in another article.)

What the average person needs from New Media is not infinite choice and infinite control, but rather a user-friendly way to get their arms around — and find the value in — the avalanche of new content being created. They need more than aggregation — they need filtering, and even more, they need synthesis.

In another article, I’ll go into the difference between synthesis and aggregation. For now, I’ll end with an observation about MySpace. Here are the traffic curves for MySpace and Flickr:

Flickr vs. MySpace

I’ll ask the same question — what problem does MySpace solve? It’s not about media consumption, and it’s not even about content creation — it’s about what young people in particular want to do most — socialize. MySpace makes it easier to hang out and be seen. It makes it easy to create your own space — something that is difficult for teenagers, indie bands, etc.

The New Media revolution will happen when someone figures out a way to solve the problem that the average person has with media, the same way that Google, MySpace, and eBay solved problems for average people — which means we need to start with understanding the average person’s problem, not with the techno-geek’s solution.

Comments (47 Responses so far)

  1. bubble popped before it ever inflated enough for anyone to make an obscene fortune from it”. According to Shel this is the impression you would get from Steve Rubel’s Web 2.0 Doesn’t Mean You’re Excused from Reality and from the Publishing 2.0 article Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0 but Shel goes on to explain that this is just part of the evolution that the industry has to go through. In the dotcom boom it took way too long for expectations to get back to a realistic level, in the current state of the industry the “get back to

  2. Prima di andare a letto ho dato un’occhiata al mio aggregatore preferito, e vedo che su disordine c’è il link a un post di Scott Karp , un esperto di web publishing…in parole povere: studia nuovi modi di pubblicare contenuti sul web. Karp sottolinea il fatto che le applicazioni web 2.0 sono interessantissime, ma sono uno strumento di nicchia rispetto al navigatore

  3. flawed. At the end of the post, he responded to some of the criticisms from the blogosphere, and then wrote another post that was more conciliatory, discussing the idea that old and new media should work together. That was fine. And then he wrote another one more recently entitled “Web 2.0 is not Media 2.0,” in which he returns to his previous theme — which is that sites like del.icio.us and newsvine.com and digg.com and so on are not helping anyone except geeks, and that this is all a symptom of the problem he

  4. Publishing 2.0 » Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0

  5. Web 2.0 is not Media 2.0

  6. newsworthiness or Wikipedia acuracy is determined by the judgment of a relatively small number of dedicated, knowledgeable people. Which is not very democratic. But it’s a whole lot more useful than being awash in a sea of unmoderated opinion.” Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0 found: 01:13am January 20, 2006 “Web 2.0 is not a great platform for helping the average person consume media. Consumer-created media is transforming the content landscape for the better, and consumer-controlled media is undoubtedly the new

  7. Publishing 2.0 » Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0

  8. the content landscape for the better, and consumer-controlled media is undoubtedly the new paradigm. But the average person does not have much time (if any) to spend creating media and has patience for only a finite amount of choice. [ ScottKarp ]

  9. Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0 では、Alpha Geek にばかりもてはやされている Web 2.0 の現状に警鐘を鳴らし、平均的ユーザにも使えるものにならなければならないと唱えた。The average person does not have much time (if any) to

  10. has been released The Eclipse IDE will be used for Flex 2.0 Quark 7 beta – many new features to check out Check out the review of Quark 7 at CreativePro.com Adobe security patch for CS2 – get it now! Web 2.0, Media 2.0 – why must we label everything? Flickr rocks… 37 Signals rocks… Loanback – IOU’s online! Verizon’s FIOS fiber service Mappr The Lodebearing Haiku Contest – Win a $50 Gift Card to iTunes

  11. Creative Common License [IMG Creative Commons License] Su diludovico.it Dario (direttore galattico) Cat E io che mi pensavo Gattostanco Kimota Louie Principe Stark del.icio.us Popular – Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0

  12. Googlenomics revolution has been financed by the little guys, who have profitably grown their businesses with pay-per-click ads. For small companies, brand management is secondary to driving sales. Not so for the big, bad corporate advertisers. Andthis piece, debunking the marriage of Web and Media 2.0, is critical reading. Not sure if I agree with it all in terms of detail, but the POV is important and seems robust. Here’s the problem — Web 2.0 is not a great platform for helping the average person

  13. de lo que conocíamos como “medios de comunicación masiva”. La nueva mirada de los medios requiere una nueva mirada del público. Prestar atención al futuro crecimiento de este en cantidad, calidad y respuesta de aprendizaje. Scott Karp enweb 2.0 is not a media 2.0 hace una interpretación estadística. Una medición que toma un parámetro. Es como querer medir el éxito de una empresa únicamente por su estado contable en un momento determinado. Un error espontáneo. Medición lineal vs. medición sistemica.

  14. Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0

  15. Resumen del postWeb 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0 Web 2.0 is not a great platform for helping the average person consume media. Consumer-controlled media is undoubtedly the new paradigm. But the average person does not have much time (if any) to spend creating media and has patience for only a

  16. Scott Karp

  17. Publishing 2.0 � Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0

  18. lot of time and effort into media consumption and media creation are outliers — people may want something more customized than the morning paper, but they still want the simplicity and leisure feel. Media based on Web 2.0 is just too hard. … Link:Publishing 2.0

  19. Bidness Accelerating Past the Chasm Interactive Marketing Primer The Tipping Point Top 10 Lies of Engineers Top 10 Lies of MarketersWeb 2.0 is not Media 2.0

  20. Testimony of Lawrence Lessig, C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith (on network neutrality) (by Lawrence Lessig et al.)Prepared Statement of Vinton G. Cerf (on network neutrality) (by Vint Cerf)Neutrality of the Net (by Tim Berners-Lee)Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0 (by Scott Karp)

  21. ), and the Jackie O shoulder bag, made famous by Jackie Kennedy, the wife of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Gucci’s London boutique. Gucci remained one of the premier luxury goods establishments in the world until the late 1970s, when a series of disastrous business decisions and family quarrels brought the company to the verge of bankruptcy. At the time, brothers Aldo and Rodolfo controlled equal 50% shares of the company, though Aldo felt that his brother contributed less to

  22. I’ve started to think along these same lines (great blog here btw – very relevant to a discussion I’m having with some folks) and posted a piece on how del.icio.us, digg, and services like them, need to recognize certain factors are at play.

  23. [...] Scott Karp in a post entitled “Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0″: “There may or may not be a Web 2.0 crash coming, as Steve Rubel has predicted, but there’s certainly blood in the water, with Yahoo’s earnings miss, Gather.com’s bad reviews, the demise of SearchFox, and the gathering buzz about an impending crash…” [...]

  24. VERY enjoyable post…It seems to me that you have hit upon something that applies to media in all forms affecting a large cross-section of industries and markets. Let’s hope Media 2.0 will alleviate the problems of “media consumption” for the masses.

  25. [...] Finally, someone else realizes that 2.0 isn’t just about the Web: Here’s the problem — Web 2.0 is not a great platform for helping the average person consume media. [...]

  26. Scott,

    You have hit the nail on the head big time. There’s a huge gap between so-called web2 and web-based rich media. A big reason for this gap is the technical challenges of managing rich media data on the web.

    And a big reason most people don’t realize there’s a gap is they don’t understand these underlying technical challenges.

    Companies who cross over the web2/rich media gap are at the forefront. Check out http://www.podOmatic.com. These guys have already started the revolution.

  27. [...] Publishing 2.0 » Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0 web 2.0 is still rather navel gazing. It might be a few million navels, but still. It is not for the average person… yet. by Black Rim Glasses | posted in running Trackback URL | Comment RSS Feed Tag at del.icio.us | Incoming links [...]

  28. [...] The web isn’t easily writeable Scott Karp has been writing some some good stuff of late. His latest (in a series of ‘Setting-the-Cat-Among-the-Pigeons-esque) post, he writes: “I’ve argued that if Media 2.0/New Media is based on Web 2.0 applications, it’s going to overwhelm the average person. …Here’s the problem — Web 2.0 is not a great platform for helping the average person consume media. Consumer-created media is transforming the content landscape for the better, and consumer-controlled media is undoubtedly the new paradigm. But the average person does not have much time (if any) to spend creating media and has patience for only a finite amount of choice. Bloggers and others who put a lot of time and effort into media consumption and media creation are outliers — people may want something more customized than the morning paper, but they still want the simplicity and leisure feel. Media based on Web 2.0 is just too hard.” The ‘simplicity and leisure[ly?] feel’. I buy that. I buy that we need better, smarter, more usable and intuitive interfaces that make it easy not only to find the signal in the noise, but also to contribute to that noise.  Your noise could be my gold and visa-versa. People are creating content all the time. Every time we speak, doodle, draw and write, we are creating content.  Every photo we take and video we shoot, every playlist and wishlist we create is content. Some of it we’ll not want to share with anyone, sure. But quite a lot of it we do want to and can share, with varying degrees of success. We’ve still got a long, long way to go in this regard. Scott’s message is spot on here – the web isn’t easily writeable for the ‘average person': let’s make our content really easy to create, really easy to share and really easy to find. – Tags: web 2.0, posted Thursday, January 19, 2006 1:50 PM by alexbarn with 0 Comments [...]

  29. [...] trendalicious!trendalicious!trendalicious is a near real-time view of website popularity trends as reflected by the del.icio.us social bookmarking service. All URLs that have been posted by a minimum of two people in the past sixty minutes are displayed, ranked by the total number of recent posts.DescriptionTotalRecentCubeoban3514» Graphical passwords for better security | Emerging Technology Trends | ZDNet.com4212Digital Web Magazine – CSS Typography26311Continuing Intermittent Incoherency » JavaScript Idioms Every Webdev Should Grok6610Curiosity is bliss: "Take It With You" Wiki376IPod hacks – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia4076Publishing 2.0 » Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.084Naturemill834Invisibilia3764Google, U.S. Clash Over Online Searches53Circuit’s Board » Blog Archive » Art via MS Paint173OSS WEB|SICP|Answer Book72SitePoint Blogs » Track Your Hacks with CVS92Debian Grimoire912Prototype gets selector magic152powered by Allegro Common Lisp, tracking 17,938 URLs [...]

  30. [...] strategy decay of players, like WPO, who can’t join the conversation is. — umair // 10:05 PM // 0 comments Comments: Post aComment [...]

  31. [...] In his post, “Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0″, Scott Karp argues most Web 2.0 products miss the key feature for the mainstream, saving people time. Some excerpts:The average person does not have much time (if any) to spend creating media and has patience for only a finite amount of choice.Bloggers and others who put a lot of time and effort into media consumption and media creation are outliers — people may want something more customized than the morning paper, but they still want the simplicity and leisure feel.Most people don’t have time to do a lot of voting, tagging, saving, and commenting — there’s already too much filing and sorting to do at work and with the monthly bills. For the average person, media consumption consists of reading or viewing and then moving on to something else.These kinds of tools are only suitable for early adopters, people who like to tinker and are willing to endure some level of suffering.But most people are lazy. If you ask them to do a lot of work, they won’t do it. As they see it, you’re only of value to them if you save them time. And, you know what, they are right.See also my previous post, “People are lazy”. [...]

  32. [...] Publishing 2.0 The Business of Publishing in the Digital Age « Previous Article | Home | [...]

  33. [...] This may not be the case, but it’s prompting some interesting talk. I particularly like this one, from Scott Karp’s Publishing 2.0 » Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0: [...]

  34. yes, yes, and yes. The computing industry, of which I’m part of, always forget that we’re nerds. Admit it people, we’re nerds! While there’s clearly a place for power services for the power users, the majority of services will service the majority of the users – and the majority of users are not nerds.

    Instead of thinking, “wouldn’t this widget be really cool”, think, “would my mum use that?”

  35. Love this thinking … more please!

  36. [...] interimlinkshttp://publishing2.com/2006/01/18/web-20-is-not-media-20/”Here’s the problem — Web 2.0 is not a great platform for helping the average person consume media.” … damn straight. LinkLeave a comment [...]

  37. [...] Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0  —  «There may or may not be a Web 2.0 crash coming, as Steve Rubel has predicted, but there’s certainly blood in the water, with Yahoo’s earnings miss, Gather.com’s bad reviews, the demise of SearchFox, and the gathering buzz about an impending crash.» See also. : http://www.usmarkets.nl/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=52846 [...]

  38. [...] Between Steve Rubel and Publishing 2.0, the crash of Yahoo and the 30 point plus drop of Google’s stock; the nastiness over Gather, and misgivings about Flock, you would think that the Web 2.0 bubble popped before it ever inflated enough for anyone to make an obscene fortune from it. [...]

  39. [...] News 2.0 My Mother Can Use Too Much Media Scott Karp – February 22nd, 2006 | Email | Print | Link Article Tags: Media, Web 2.0, Media 2.0, KillerApp [...]

  40. [...] I’ve read A LOT about Web 2.0 — I haven’t seen so much Koolaid since I was at summer camp. And I’ve taken a stand that Web 2.0 is a long way from Media 2.0. [...]

  41. [...] I’ve read A LOT about Web 2.0 — I haven’t seen so much Koolaid since I was at summer camp. And I’ve taken a stand that Web 2.0 is a long way from Media 2.0. [...]

  42. [...] Nuestra apreciación no es desmesurada. Proviene de comparar los sitios en los que las herramientas 2.0 exigen poco del usuario pero le dan mucho, como es el caso de Google, eBay o Flickr, con la inversa, como sucede en Digg. Una muestra de visitas combinadas entre ambos sitios es bien contundente. Y lo mismo sucede si comparamos a Flickr con del.icio.us (ver los excelentes gráficos en la nota Publishing 2.0 de Scott Karp, que ha servido de base para esta glosa). [...]

  43. [...] Este post de Alejandro se basa en Web 2.0 is NOT Media 2.0 [...]

  44. [...] Nuestra apreciación no es desmesurada. Proviene de comparar los sitios en los que las herramientas 2.0 exigen poco del usuario pero le dan mucho, como es el caso de Google, eBay o Flickr, con la inversa, como sucede en Digg. Una muestra de visitas combinadas entre ambos sitios es bien contundente. Y lo mismo sucede si comparamos a Flickr con del.icio.us (ver los excelentes gráficos en la nota Publishing 2.0 de Scott Karp, que ha servido de base para esta glosa). [...]

  45. [...] This may not be the case, but it’s prompting some interesting talk. I particularly like this one, from Scott Karp’s Publishing 2.0 » Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0: [...]

  46. Excellent article, spot on. On a microcosmic note, I’m currently exploring ways of making my site more usable for the mainstream. As Alex said (comment #15), it’s hard because we forget we’re nerds.

    Really glad I found this blog.

    Kx

  47. [...] Publishing 2.0 » Web 2.0 Is Not Media 2.0 There may or may not be a Web 2.0 crash coming, as Steve Rubel has predicted, but there’s certainly blood in the water, with Yahoo’s earnings miss, Gather.com’s bad reviews, the demise of SearchFox, and the gathering buzz about an impending crash. (tags: web2.0 media business internet flickr article) [...]

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