Traditional media brands are built around institutions — The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, CNN. The blogging phenomenon has made it possible for an individual to become a media brand — even for blogs that have an institution-like name. BuzzMachine, Scripting News, TechCrunch, Creating Passionate Users, PaidContent, Rocketboom are really about Jeff Jarvis, Dave Winer, Michael Arrington, Kathy Sierra, Rafat Ali, and Amanda Congdon/Andrew Baron, just like GigaOm is all about Om Malik. All the brand value accrues to the individual.
As Google continues to destroy the value of branded content, individual media brands may be the last line of defense. Individual talent as media destination may be the only viable alternative to search and social networking as portals to the web.
I say a little prayer for Om.
Doc Searls takes issue with my use of the word “brand” — also “talent” — and suggests, in classic Doc fashion, that we should be a bit more humanist in talking about this very people-centric phenomenon. Perhaps those two words are extraneous, and the phenomenon can best be described with the other two words in this post title — “individual” and “media.”
Individuals are media. Can’t strip it down much further than that.