February 25th, 2006

Audiences Are NOT Created Equal

by

Media is about conversation and participation. Consumers can create their own media. Value is being created at the edge. You’ve heard all the New Media maxims.

The problem, as many people have stated many times, is that the more everyone participates in content creation and content interaction, the harder it is to navigate the sea of information to find what’s useful.

Google perfected the first-generation solution to information overload by using hyperlinks as “votes of value” — the more links there are to a piece of content, the more valuable and relevant it must be.

Web 2.0 has created new activities beyond linking that the “people formerly known as the audience” can use to interact with content — tagging, rating, blogging, commenting, seeding, etc. — these activities create datasets that ostensibly reflect the value of the content.

But the fundamental problem of information filtering still remains, and in fact seems to be getting worse. Matt McAlister brought this into sharp relief for me with his insightful post: What will be the next PageRank? (Matt has a couple of simple but highly useful conceptual graphics that you should check out.)

The hyperlink was a vote in the search-driven Internet. Now I’m dependent on a new currency – human action. The click is much more potent than the existence of a link. Even more potent than clicks are tags, ratings, comments and emailed URLs. A hyperlink is still a vote, but seeing some form of human action gives me much more confidence that a source has value.

So, the trick now is for content creators to figure out how to get users to act on their stuff. How do you get people to add that extra bit of value to your content that validates and then qualifies the value for other people? And then how do you expose the user-contributed value so that the right things get picked up from the right tools at the right time to reach the right people?

I think Matt has it exactly right — but there’s still a crucial element missing. It’s not just about getting ANY people to “add that extra bit of value to your content that validates and then qualifies the value for other people.” For “the right things get picked up from the right tools at the right time to reach the right people,” content creators need to get the RIGHT people to “act on their stuff.” Like Matt, I have more confidence in human action, but I have more confidence in some humans than others.

There’s an egalitarian sensibility among Web 2.0 and participatory media evangelists that says any participation is good participation. But as anyone who works in media ought to know, all audiences are not created equal. Some audiences are more valuable than others, depending on what you’re selling, what your message is, or what your objective is. That’s why you don’t see ads for Prada in Saltwater Sportsman or ads for fishing rods in Vogue.

And that’s why I find community filters like Digg and Reddit so useless. If you have a random group of people act as a filter, you’re going to get a random result. Here are some headlines pulled right off of Digg and Reddit:

DIGG
A Supernova Spectacle Begins
Mom’s Genetics Could Produce Gay Sons
Acer has its own take on video iPod due next month.
Porsche Unveils Most Powerful Non-Turbo 911in History: The 2007 911 GT3
FREE Books: Mastering AJAX
World’s First USB Powered Drink Cooler Tested

REDDIT
Autistic Basketball Player Causes Mayhem (youtube.com)
It’s just your mind that makes it dirty (programmerstools.org)
The real reason Skype isn’t as good as it was (theregister.co.uk)
Biking in the Norwegian Mountains — cool Flickr photo (flickr.com)
How To Make Circuit Boards With A Laser Printer

Here’s where I get accused of being elitist — the collective intelligence of some groups of people is more intelligent than that of other groups. Why? Because on certain topics, and in general, some people are smarter than others.

There, I’ve said it.

Yes, there are many types of intelligence, knowledge, and talent, but some people have more than others. So get over it. I can’t play basketball, which is why I can’t show up at a free city court and expect to be included in a pick-up game just because the financial cost of entry is low — I will add NO value to the other players and in fact will detract from their game experience.

If that doesn’t make the sky fall on me, how about this:

The New York Times’ audience probably has a richer and more varied collective intelligence than the audience of most Web 2.0 media sites. Or if that’s too “highbrow” and “elitist,” I’d say that USA Today’s audience can probably generate more value through participation than the random users of some Web 2.0 apps. This is more true as you get more niche — I’d trust BusinessWeek readers on business and Vogue readers on fashion. And I’d trust the readers of New Media brands, including blogs, that have established a clearly defined audience by providing them with clearly defined value.

To put it in terms of attention — and “return on attention” — not all attention provides the same return.

To be clear, I’m not saying that the people who RUN the New York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Vogue or any Old Media brands are smarter — my critique points to a failing of BOTH Old Media and New Media. Old Media doesn’t understand that they need to leverage the collective intelligence of their audience. New Media doesn’t understand that WHO your audience (or users, participants, community, etc) is matters.

To put it more simply: Old Media has the audiences, but doesn’t know what to do with them. New Media knows what to do, but doesn’t have the audiences.

So what to do?

For Old Media, the answer is simple. Start engaging your audiences and leverage the value they can create.

For New Media (Web 2.0), the challenge is to figure out WHO your audience is. This is media 101. Don’t build an application just because it’s “cool.” Do some market research. Find a group of people with an unmet need that you can address. This is your audience (or your customers, users, participants, whatever). If you have any hope of making money by selling advertising, you need to know who your audience is and what their relationship to you is.

I was talking to Umair Haque yesterday, and he said that the future of media lies somewhere between Old Media and Web 2.0, and as always he’s right.

Whoever finds this middle ground between audiences and applications, between human intelligence and technology, will win the media game.

UPDATE

Pete Cashmore’s response got me thinking:

Like Scott, I find Digg useless. But that’s because it’s populist – like a tabloid newspaper, it seems to converge on the lowest common denominator. Digg users choose the “right” stories for other Digg users, but these might not be so interesting to the Memeorandum set. In fact, most of what turns up on Memeorandum is completely useless to me. Contrary to Scott’s argument, this is not because one audience is smarter than another, but because different tribes have different priorities. The answer is not to reintroduce old media hierarchies. Instead, we allow people to become their own editors through personalization.

Why does everyone distrust hierarchies so much? It may offend everyone’s egalitarian sensibilities, but some audiences ARE smarter than others about SOME things.

Pete is absolutely right about “tribes” — the problem with so much Web 2.0 activity is that it’s not focused on defining tribes and, more importantly, defining those tribes’ NEEDS. Most Web 2.0 apps are one-size-fits-all. They don’t define a distinct value proposition for a distinct tribe — if they did, the participation of that tribe would be hugely valuable for members of the tribe. Instead, you get random participation by random people who are curious in a random geeky sort of way.

Memetrackers are a great example of this problem. Instead of building the same app over and over for no one in particular, what they should be doing is something like CarSpace. The lesson of MySpace is not to go off and create a direct competitor to MySpace, but to use that approach to define a value proposition for a distinct group of people — in this case, people who dig cars.

I’ll play the usual ghost of media past role and point out that a “tribe” is what Old Media calls a “niche audience.” It used to be that niche media just pushed out information of common interest to its niche audience. Now that the audience can participate, it can create huge value on the topic that it knows best.

But first you need to DEFINE the audience, user group, niche, tribe, community — choose your own term, it doesn’t matter.

What I can guarantee you is that the readers of Saltwater Sportsman know MORE about fishing rods than the readers of Vogue, and vice versa about handbags. Hierarchies of knowledge DO exist — instead of denying it, try leveraging it.

UPDATE #2
Pete Cashmore responded to my previous Update and took the thinking an interesting step forward:

Digg users know very little about the stories they vote for, but they do seem to pick stories that other Digg users will like. This is an affinity group, rather than a group with “knowledge” of any topic in particular. Yes, there’s often a correlation between being knowledgable about a topic and making good editorial choices, but not always. (And I define good editorial choices as “what your audience wants to read”, rather than “what your audience should be reading”. It’s descriptive, rather than prescriptive).

Here, I think, is a critical issue. Is the objective of filtering to find what you WANT or what you NEED? Fox News, for example, has mastered the art of giving people what they WANT. If building a better echo chamber is the objective, then the Digg model works well.

Pete also writes:

But I think Scott’s argument becomes muddled when he says that one audience is “smarter” or “better” than another.

and

These are still half-formed thoughts, but I think the question I’m trying to ask is: instead of stating what the tribes should be from the outset (”building verticals”), could we let the tribes evolve on their own?

From that perspective, the Digg audience is defined by the group of geeky people who think that the app is cool and that the eclectic, geeky results it produces are cool — and they have become BETTER than other groups at producing those results.

So Pete is right that tribes can evolve on their own, but I’m not sure that is the best approach from a business standpoint. It’s still very technology-centric to build an app and let it lead people where they may. It’s more people-centric to realize that most affinity groups or tribes form around specific topics, interests, or objectives, and these affinity groups aren’t necessarily served well by the same app.

Take StarStyle — here’s an app that fills a need for a specific affinity group — people who want to dress like the stars they see in movies and TV. (Via Umair.) These people didn’t need a Web 2.0 app to help them realize that they want their fashion to reflect the most popular trends. Someone identified this need and built something for them.

Pete also writes:

Helping affinity groups to find each other by building verticals (eg. Carspace) is certainly a good route, but what happens if my interests span multiple tribes? Instead of a one-size-fits-all “Memeorandum for widgets”, wouldn’t a widget enthusiast prefer a personalized memetracker that acknowledges both his love of widgets and his interest in foo?

But isn’t the idea of personalized memetracker moving away from community? And why does my media solution have to be all in one place? My life and my social connections don’t exist all in one place. I don’t have everyone I know over for dinner all at once, and I don’t expect my doctor to be my lawyer. There’s a reason why the niche strategy worked so well in Old Media — technology has made media MUCH more flexible, but people haven’t changed.

Pete ends by saying we should focus on both people and technology, and he’s right. I just think Web 2.0 needs to shift its center of gravity more towards people.

Comments (59 Responses so far)

  1. статті наведено у Телекритиці. Джерела: лінк на дослідження надіслав е-поштою Zhenya. Audiences Are NOT Created Equal На думку Скотта Карпа (Scott Karp), від більшості сервісів web2.0,

  2. that creates RSS feeds on the fly — i.e. feeds are created and consumed as easily as reading something on the Web) – Scott Karp: Audiences are not created equal (“Old Media has the audiences, but doesn’t know what to do with them. New Media knows what to do, but doesn’t have the

  3. [IMG webtwodotoh.jpg] Scott Karp builds on some insightful comments by Matt McAlister in his ongoing exploration of the transition from Media 1.0 to Media 2.0. As usual, Scott’s post gets strong points on style, substance and thought-stimulation. Here

  4. I have otherwise organized simply for myself. The tags, then have to function as self-tags. A second post I found thought-provoking was Scott Karp’s on his blog Publishing 2.0. Scott writes that with Web 2.0’s focus on the participation and content-creation of audiences (produsers) we end

  5. [IMG] Scott Karp builds on some insightful comments by Matt McAlister in his ongoing exploration of the transition from Media 1.0 to Media 2.0. As usual, Scott’s post gets strong points on style, substance and thought-stimulation. Here’s Matt’s

  6. Publishing 2.0 » Audiences Are NOT Created Equal

  7. Scott Karp, Publishing 2.0 : “The problem, as many people have stated many times, is that the more everyone participates in content creation and content interaction, the harder it is to navigate the sea of information to find whatÂ’s useful.” Scott

  8. Scott Karp : Old Media has the audiences, but doesnÂ’t know what to do with them. New Media knows what to do, but doesnÂ’t have the audiences.

  9. or misleading to speak of the U.S. economy or the Chilean economy or the French economy, I’m convinced that the practice of anthropomorphizing countries has gone too far. I explain in my… read more Publishing 2.0 Audiences Are NOT Created Equal

  10. Publishing 2.0 » Audiences Are NOT Created Equal the more everyone participates in content creation and content interaction, the harder it is to navigate the sea of information to find what’s useful. Russell Beattie Notebook – WTF 2.0 You can create a

  11. offers. Visually, though, I felt it was somewhat clunky. So far the MySpace cloning is working… Scott Karp, at Publishing 2.0, has an interesting perspective on CarSpace: Memetrackers are a great example of this problem. Instead of building the same app over and over for no one in

  12. with no professional media background would use those terms in that way. He may actually have been reflecting the views of his teenage students. I was reminded of Mike’s comments after reading Scott Karp’s reflections that audiences are not equal :

  13. Authority in the Age of the Amateur. Audiences Are NOT Created Equal . 從另外一個角度看 ETC ─ 《從 ETC 電子收費談到資訊人權與開放檔案格式》。 Nokia takes on naming rights sponsorship of Australian Motocross:“Nokia is very proud to be one of

  14. to a Scott Karp post in which he laments the rise of popularity sites like Digg and Reddit, reiterated a common distinction between popularity and importance : “Finding what’s *popular* is easier and more profitable than what’s “important”. In order to find the popular, you just

  15. Pollner eredeti cikke, amire nem reagáltam. Gondolatok a Pollner által tegnap idézett cikkhez – Å‘t sajnos nem lehet elérni szerver gondok miatt -, ami a nem minden közösség egyenlÅ‘ érvre építve kritizálja a web 2.0-s oldalakat. ElÅ‘zmények. A neten elérhetÅ‘

  16. Ãœber publishing.com bin ich auf eineninteressanten Artikel von Scott Karp über information filtering (im weitesten Sinne)in den Zeiten von conversation, participation und user-generated content gestossen. Und nachdem ich grad motiviert bin, hab ich ihn teilübersetzt und ein bisschen zusammengefasst – here we go:

  17. Industry Note – Are VCs the Real Chasm In 2.0? I had a fun chat with Scott a few days ago, andhe has a post outlining a bit of what we discussed, so check it out for some fresh thinking. But the larger point behind that particular discussion is simple, and probably worth a larger, broader discussion. Out discussion was about the fact that we

  18. Publishing 2.0, 25.02.2006: Audiences Are NOT Created Equal

  19. Buddhist community leader with no professional media background would use those terms in that way. He may actually have been reflecting the views of his teenage students. I was reminded of Mike’s comments after reading Scott Karp’s reflections thataudiences are not equal:

  20. Good post Scott, enjoyed this one.

  21. [...] Scott Karp argues that Audiences Are Not Created Equal. He’s sort of right. A while back, when Digg users voted a woefully incorrect story to the front page, we had a long and detailed discussion on Mashable about whether the wisdom of crowds works – essentially, whether many ignorant users are better than a few experts. The gist of my argument was that Digg didn’t count as a wisdom of crowds system, since its users don’t act independently (the ability to see how others have voted leads to groupthink). I also maintained that in real wisdom of crowds systems (like stock markets), the crowd is indeed much more intelligent than the educated individual. However, others pointed out in the comments that choosing a news story is not like estimating a stock price – it is a matter of opinion, not fact. I think this is correct. [...]

  22. Scott:

    This is really well written and I am glad that more and more people are bringing up the real issues. The information filtering and organization problem is definitely becoming more challenging with the flood of new information/intelligence from user generated content in a number of forms including blogs and comments on blogs as well as from human interaction via tagging and rating. PageRank definitely is going to be of less use when we want to filter and organize this new tagged and rated information. I definitely agree with the point of view of leveraging the user interaction aspect but as you pointed out an explicit model like Digg or Reddit is prone to problems you have covered very well.

    I believe a better model could be an implicit tracking of user interaction (like clicks on search results etc.) and adding weightage to such interactions in re-ranking, filtering and consolidation of content. The realization of this can vary from segment to segment but I fully agree that the a specific set of users can be far more effective than a more generic large group. At iNods, our audience is users who are search for reviews and advice and we definitely want to build a model to leverage user interaction to filter better review results and rank them higher. A big challenge but we want to atleast try and address it :)

  23. This discussion reminds me of Open Source vs. Microsoft.

    You say that some audience groups are smarter than others but discount the fact that mainstream media already has a highly-informed group of people that are making decisons for their audience – editors and publishers. Those people are generally smarter and better informed than their audience. Not to mention the people behind them who work to keep the business of media running.

    To ask MSM to start “engaging their audience” is incorrect terminology (and slightly condescending). They have been engaging their audience very effectively for years. What you are asking for is for them to provide systems for greater audience participation. However, explicit audience participation in news is only once part of the solution. Most mainstream readers do not have the time or inclination to actively participate in selecting their news — they just want to read, or watch, a presentation of news. I can see this from my own site, where the proportion of posters to readers is 100 to one. There is however, much to be said for implicit models, although it should be remembered that people come to news sites not to read what they know, but to read something different ;)

    Digg, etc don’t work well because they conform to the wider meaning of democracy: the rule of the mob. They reflect the difference between these two questions: Do you want to read what everyone else thinks is popular?
    Or do you want to read what is most interesting to you? Although algorithms will become more sophisticated there will always be room for highly informed human editors (a representative democracy?) to interact with audiences.

    “The future of media is somewhere between Old Media and Web 2.0″ is not a particularly bold prediction. It is more interesting is to predict where the boundary will lie. It is already clear that MSM is adapting to maintain their audience. Their efforts to co-opt bloggers and to add various “new media”-like products to their media leads me to believe that the boundary will resolve in MSM’s favor.

    Any person wanting to start a new media based on technology alone should think carefully about the values implicit in MSM, the methods they use, and about how easy it is for MSM to copy new media features.

  24. Great post! It’s great to see that finally someone has addressed the issues of media overflow so adequately and eloquently. I think Web2.0 entrepreneurs should stop focusing on creating another “cool” content aggregration application but instead focus on the right issue of addressing the content overflow. From user’s perspective(my point of view as well), it’s real pain in the as* to see so many content aggregration sites like Digg, Meomerandum, Slashdot come up of nowhere since the dawn of web2.0. STOP!…… We do really have enough of all these.

  25. Interesting discussion. I’ve been thinking along these lines for a while now, and even have my own solution sketched out. The result won’t look too much like memeorandum, though some of the technology may be involved. In anyone wants to talk about this (about the possibility of actually building something) please let me know.

    BTW, I’m not too big on personalization like the current crop of “meme trackers” are attempting. I believe it won’t be good enough. I think we’ll all be sifting through headlines, passing on most of what comes up for years to come.

  26. Whoever finds this middle ground between audiences and applications, between human intelligence and technology, will win the media game.

    The solution to the problem of scattered massive amount of small sources of information will come, like in most industries and human trends, from consolidation. Not that of the users (like what we can see at Digg and Reddit) but of the content creators.

    Good bloggers, writing on similar subjects will realise the benefit of synergy. An online magazine for example, written by 5 good bloggers will have much larger audience and be much more attractive than the sum of the 5 individual blogs.
    The reasons are
    1) that it will be more of a one stop shop helping readers solve their need efficiently reading.
    2) Search engines will bring in much more traffic than the sum of the 5 blogs
    3) The bloggers will be able to focus on interesting topics rather than repeating other blogger’s topics. (one blogger will have to focus on Google for the other 4 will be able to write about other things)

    Nir Ben-Dor Linkadelic Magazine

  27. I’m curious to know why you included only 5 headlines from reddit as opposed to 7 from digg — especially when the reddit front page contains far more links.

  28. [...] This raises an important question, one that was addressed on Publishing 2.0 on Saturday. If 2005 was the year of “exploding media,” what will the year 2006 be about? Filtering the remnants from that explosion? What content, specifically fight-related, appeals to consumers online? What are people willing to pay for? This isn’t as silly of a series of questions as you might think. Bryan Alvarez has been trying to gauge what his audience wants, and so far it appears that his customers are more willing to pay for audio content than pay money for what was his 10-year trademark – his writings. [...]

  29. Yes and yes. Competence and intelligence are unequally distributed since stoneage. That the technology to publish is becoming easier doesn´t mean we as a whole are becoming more intelligent or even informed. Digg/Reddit etc are mob live. But competence and intelligence isn´t something which can´t be assigned “democratically”.

    The next step in “relevance” will come with just a little bit artificial intelligence or textunderstanding. And this day will come…
    (Sorry for my english; native german)

  30. [...] Scott Karp updated his “audiences are not created equal” post with a thoughtful response to my suggestions. I’m not sure we really disagree, but I thought I’d expand on those ideas a bit more. [...]

  31. “But isn’t the idea of personalized memetracker moving away from community?”

    I don’t think so – so long as the recommendations happen in an explicit way (“there are 20 people with similar preferences to you – do you want to visit their profiles?”) then personalization and community are complementary.

    “So Pete is right that tribes can evolve on their own, but I’m not sure that is the best approach from a business standpoint. It’s still very technology-centric to build an app and let it lead people where they may. It’s more people-centric to realize that most affinity groups or tribes form around specific topics, interests, or objectives, and these affinity groups aren’t necessarily served well by the same app.”

    Yep – I agree. At the end of that post I tried to explain that we need to do both – define the group we want to cater to *and* let tribes evolve around topics: “In truth, we probably need a bit of both – defining the tribe in some instances, and in other instances building tools that allow tribes to build themselves.”

    I think there’s probably a way to tie MySpace into this conversation too. A lot of us are surprised by how such a technologically backward site (with – gasp!- no tagging!) could be so successful. I still struggle to explain why MySpace has enjoyed more success than similar social plays, but one reason might be that it is people-focused, rather than technology-focused. (I also happen to think that MySpace was very lucky.)

    On a sidenote: did MySpace define its audience as 16-25 year olds from the outset, or did that audience evolve on its own? And does this lead to a vicious (or virtuous?) circle where the dominant group forces out the minority groups in the network, while attracting yet more members to the dominant group? An example of this trend might be Orkut, which is (allegedly) popular with Brazillians. Does this attract yet more Brazillians to join while dissuading everyone else?

  32. Pete, MySpace solved a problem for young people — it helped them to socilaize in broader and more diverse ways, at a time when many don’t have their own space – the name says it all! MySpace may have been fortunately timed, but it addressed a real need that a defined group of people have. And that has little to do with technology.

    For a more a disturbing view on MySpace, see the comment by Jim Gilliam on Umair’s post: http://www.bubblegeneration.com/2006/02/why-yahoo-didnt-build-myspace-dont.cfm

    Your observation about the self-reinforcing nature of networks is intriguing — if it’s true, it should be deliberately harnessed.

  33. I think this phrase captures the conflict: “… to find what you WANT or what you NEED”?

    Finding what’s *popular* is easier and more profitable than what’s “important”. In order to find the popular, you just poll either the crowd, or the demagogues (people who are experts – at what’s popular). That’s very simple (relatively speaking).

    But how do you find what’s important, what you *need*? What do you code for? The first cut is to poll a niche rather than a general audience. But problems there are that there might not be enough of a sample, and the economics are even less supportable.

    These questions don’t often get discussed extensively because the hype-machine runs on populism and demogoguery, so that’s what gets amplified and echoed. But also, there’s more to discuss, and moreover, a service which acts to find the popular is, recursively, a popular topic for coverage.

    Nobody really knows how to do more.

  34. As the blog world becomes more massive it becomes as collectively dumb as the media it was replacing. I feel this every day, some of the people who comment on my writing (you know who I’m talking about) remind me of the cliched image of sports writers, a non-athlete who has no clue what the issues are in sports, but that doesn’t stop them from passing judgement.

    My suggestion is find people whose judgement you trust, and connect with them both ways, push information to them, and take feedback from them. Assume everyone has some axe to grind, and you probably be far from wrong. Most people do. And they aren’t here to do good, most of them, they’re hear to get attention for themselves. Somewhere in the midst of all that, some truth emerges. Not much, but enough to make the activity worthwhile, for now, imho.

    Keep up the good work, I think you’re onto something.

  35. Oy I should always edit before I hit Submit.

    I meant “Assume everyone has some axe to grind, and you probably won’t be far from wrong.”

    I think I’m getting Alzheimer’s either that or my computer loses whole words while I’m typing. :-)

  36. [...] Scott Karp’s Publishing 2.0 is becoming a must-read blog. He’s trying to figure things out. Good on him.   [...]

  37. [...] Scott Karp’s Publishing 2.0 is becoming a must-read blog. He’s trying to figure things out. Good on him.   [...]

  38. [...] Take his latest post for example, which is entitled Audiences Are Not Created Equal. As he often does, Scott is talking about the reams of information on the Web, and how people need filters and so on. He talks about Matt McAlister’s post on “What will be the next PageRank” and so on. So far, so good. Then he gets to his main point, which is that someone — traditional media, he suggests — needs to find a way of getting the RIGHT people to filter things. He says: There’s an egalitarian sensibility among Web 2.0 and participatory media evangelists that says any participation is good participation. But as anyone who works in media ought to know, all audiences are not created equal. [...]

  39. [...] It seems to me that we’re not going to make any meaningful progress on solving the information overload problem until we can help people decide what it is they want out of media. Seth Finkelstein made a great observation about this in a comment on my previous post: Finding what’s *popular* is easier and more profitable than what’s “important”. In order to find the popular, you just poll either the crowd, or the demagogues (people who are experts – at what’s popular). That’s very simple (relatively speaking). [...]

  40. [...] Trackback Comments: the email wasn’t “to the other side.” Dave #posted by Anonymous : 3:51 PM  [...]

  41. [...] And yet the potential is there and forgive me for a moment while I play the highly excited new media enthusiast. Publishing 2.0 has a great piece on audience, new media, old media, and community [...]

  42. Who is my audience?…

    Scott Karp is actually talking about something a tad different here, and on the Blog-city discussion group we’ve been talking about why we blog. Both of these got me to thinking:
    Who is my audience?
    I think of my audience as probably being ov…

  43. Filters aren’t fun.

    Hey Dave, when are you going to send me an angry email?

  44. [...] set of guys that should be seeding, growing, nurturing, and building it. — umair // 10:41 AM // 0 comments Comments: Post aComment [...]

  45. Great post and great discussion.
    All the tech folks really have to do is let go of there apps and put it in the hands of different tribes. They’ll figure out what to do with it.

  46. Digg.com and others are monetary-based enterprises, they exist to get money via advertisments. They do not care much about your or mine particular preferences, and they are pretty good denominator/summarizator of what the crowd wants. I mean it’s useful to see what the majority of people collectively filtered out. Yes, technically-inclined people can find artisitc “findings” kind of useless, and vice versa. Still, Diggs.com never pretends to be honest hierarchy of tastes. If your taste is outside of the 75% preferences, you’re out of luck.
    Still it should sound fair for you, right?

  47. [...] Here’s some good ideas from Scott Karp and Umair. Think Remix. [...]

  48. After 36 comments, does it still matter? I love the question as framed, but, Scott, I think the answer is off-kilter just a bit. It sounds too much like adherence to the silo model of media.

    I agree whole-heartedly with the observation that the memetrackers are tracking sensationalistic noise. That’s the way their built. They are mostly just prettier hacks of /.

    But that’s not where the interesting stuff happens, there in the mosh-pitt of frothing populism. What we want is afficianados digging through heaps of stinking noise looking for their own brands of signal that we can then scrutinize and lavish praise upon, or ignore, as warranted.

  49. [...] From Publishing 2.0: [...]

  50. [...] Hot damn! Scott Karp has a killer post on new media. You should read the whole thing, but below are some key quotes. [...]

  51. [...] http://publishing2.com/2006/02/25/audiences-are-not-created-equal/#comment-892 [...]

  52. [...] Audiences Are NOT Created Equal Old Media doesn’t understand that they need to leverage the collective intelligence of their audience. New Media doesn’t understand that WHO your audience (or users, participants, community, etc) is matters. (tags: attention recommendation participation facilitation selection) [...]

  53. [...] Audiences Are NOT Created Equal Not sure if you guys saw this post, but I really liked what it had to say about audience in a Web 2.0 world: http://publishing2.com/2006/02/25/audiences-are-not-created-equal/ In many ways, this echos James’ point about del.icio.us. The way to squeeze value out of social bookmarking is to identify PEOPLE that you trust, and follow their linking. The fact that 732 people have bookmarked a page is less meaningful to me than the fact one person bookmarked a page, if that person is James (for example). This article takes that thought further. Sites with broad audiences that solicit ratings/rankings/feedback don’t necessarily add value. Perhaps they even chase away the people who could add value… And the role of information architects? Here’s a great quote from the blogpost, the last paragraph of his first update: “What I can guarantee you is that the readers of Saltwater Sportsman know MORE about fishing rods than the readers of Vogue, and vice versa about handbags. Hierarchies of knowledge DO exist — instead of denying it, try leveraging it.” — Dan Retrieved from “http://www.brandonschauer.com/mindshift/index.php?title=Talking_about_Audiences” [...]

  54. [...] Sites that exemplify these new frames are not without their critics. Scott Karp, who writes Publishing 2.0, indicates that liberal participation from a broad audience can lead to meaningless data: “If you have a random group of people act as a filter, you’re going to get a random result.” To put it in terms of this new frame, participation demands structure, because without it Karp’s “sea of information” just becomes more turbulent. (Isn’t it interesting that someone writing about the new age of publishing still refers to information in terms of navigable space? I don’t think we’ll ever lose that trope.) [...]

  55. [...] Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 has also written about how social media relies on a conceit that everyone wants to (or has time to) become a creator of media, and also that in any cases people don’t really have much worth saying or contributing. I responded to this with a post of my own, in which I accused Scott of being an elitist (he responds to me in the comments). The Economist quotes Jerry Michalski on this topic: Not everything in the “blogosphere” is poetry, not every audio “podcast” is a symphony, not every video “vlog” would do well at Sundance, and not every entry on Wikipedia, the free and collaborative online encyclopedia, is 100% correct, concedes Mr Michalski. But exactly the same could be said about newspapers, radio, television and the Encyclopaedia Britannica. [...]

  56. [...] Publishing 2.0 » Audiences Are NOT Created Equal (tags: !toread) [...]

  57. [...] I’ve banged this drum before with Audiences Are NOT Created Equal. [...]

  58. [...] Interesting article about how not all audiences are created equal: “Here’s where I get accused of being elitist — the collective intelligence of some groups of people is more intelligent than that of other groups. Why? Because on certain topics, and in general, some people are smarter than others“ [...]

  59. [...] just found a very interesting post on Publishing 2.0 which makes a neat and delightful segue from this topic into that of audiences; Audiences are NOT [...]

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