March 3rd, 2006
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.
Kent Newsome has the latest antidote to Web 2.0 hype, invoking Monty Python’s Holy Grail to show that most Web 2.0 apps don’t have a “mandate from the masses.”
Alex Barnett, with the help of Mark Devlin, may have had a Web 2.0 “awakening,” meditating on the Web 2.0 Uncertainty Principle — the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 is like the transition from Newtonian physics to quantum physics. It’s a Zen thing — it’s a different state of mind.
This is why I completely disagree with Jeff Jarvis and everyone else heaping praise on Tom Glocer, CEO of Reuters, who gave a keynote at the Online Publishers Association. According to Jeff, Tom has three ideas for how media companies can create value in Media 2.0:
Media companies will be a Ã¢â‚¬Å“seeder of clouds.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The second role is to be a Ã¢â‚¬Å“provider of toolsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ We need to produce open standards and interoperability to allowÃ¢â‚¬Â disparate people to create content of disparate types. Ã¢â‚¬Å“LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not make the same mistakes newspapers did with the protectionist online strategies that characterized Internet 1.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The third role, he says, is that media companies will be Ã¢â‚¬Å“filter and editor.Ã¢â‚¬Â He says that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the good stuff will rise to the topÃ¢â‚¬Â online.
Here’s what I think of this — Tom Glocer has fooled 2.0 advocates like Jeff Jarvis into thinking he’s drunk the Koolaid, but the truth is, he hasn’t. This is Media 1.1 at best, and it still represents a formlua for perpetuating the entrenchment of Old Media at the center (which 2.0ers like Pete Cashmore accuse me of doing).
First, let’s get one thing straight – blogging is an evolution, NOT a revolution.
Bloggers are independent publishers, and the best bloggers are successful and effective because they do what the best Old Media publishers do — consistently provide quality content that is interesting and useful to their readers, and by passing along scoops from other media sources.
The ability to comment on blogs is no more revolutionary than the ability to comment on any online publication.
Blogging is only an evolution because the value is TOO distributed — blogging has dramatically increased the amount of quality content in the network, but nobody has yet figured out yet how to create an efficient marketplace for this content. This is why blogging hasn’t attracted a mass audience — because 30 million difficult-to-differentiate blogs is not a useful value proposition.
With that (contrarian) context, here’s why Tom Glocer is not really a revolutionary:
1. Media companies already seed the clouds — they create content that gets passed along by bloggers AND Old Media companies (and aggregators like memetrackers)
2. Media companies don’t need to provide the tools — thanks to the blogging software innovation, independent content creators already have the tools. Some Old Media companies, like The Houston Chronicle, are providing the tools for bloggers WITHIN their existing publishing infrastructure. And why would any bloggers go this route? Because Old Media companies still have the AUDIENCE.
3. Media companies are ALREADY filters and editors. So are bloggers. But this is still editing and filtering 1.0
So Tom Glocer hasn’t laid out a vision of a Media 2.0 — or a real media revolution. He’s laid out a DESCRIPTION of Media 1.1 as it ALREADY exists.
Media 1.1 is about empowering audience participation and independent content creation.
Media 2.0 is about creating an efficient marketplace for content that enables media consumers to find the highest-yield content from an ever increasing diversity of sources AND enabling content creators to efficiently collaborate.
This is why Media/Web 2.0 needs Marketing 2.0 — we need a new economic paradigm for valuing attention, which will create a new paradigm for value creation in Media/Web 2.0 and enable the “the good stuff will rise to the top,” as Tom Glocer puts it.
So what is this new paradigm? I don’t know, but if Alex Barnett is right, it involves letting go of the Old Media paradigm completely. It involves realizing that blogging is more 1.0 than 2.0, and that the economics of Web 2.0 are still utterly 1.0.
So open your mind, close your eyes, and chant: I am 2.0
Paging Werner Heisenberg.
I categorically apologize to anyone else whose name I misspelled. That’s what happens when you take the copy editors out of these system!
At the very least, Media 2.0 needs a network spell checker that can handle proper names.