Tag Archives: Content

Jeff Jarvis on what I’ve been beginning to call “The Content Creator’s Dilemma”

Screen shot 2012-03-02 at 5.08.27 PM[From a previous Amplify curation post.]

Jeff Jarvis is pointing out several excellent recent examples of changing journalism practices in the age of the Real-Time Web, and ever more rapid Content Decay (that’s why they call it “old news”…). Is the news article becoming a luxury, and mere byproduct of other, larger reporting and #Curation efforts?

I’ve been meaning to write a longer post about what has been forming in my mind under the preliminary heading “The Content Creator’s Dilemma”, but… I haven’t found the time yet given the rapid-fire progression of topics in technology, in social media, in #dinomedia, etc. that I also wanted to at least curate here on Amplify to stay approximately “caught up”.

So shall we now add to the recent idiom “TL;DR” (Too Long; Didn’t Read), its mirror, “Too Long; Didn’t Write”?!

Because that’s how I’ve been feeling in regard to an increasing array of topics over the last 12-18 months. And why I’ve been so much more active over here on Amplify curating than on my own long form blog. Why in fact I’ve been arguing consistently for Curation as a concept:

It avoids reinventing the wheel, and dispenses with the cost of, as Jeff Jarvis calls it here “adding background paragraphs…those great space-wasters that can now be rethought of as links to regularly updated background wikis…”.

Because rather than create endless rephrasings of the same basic, introductory points (that no matter how well crafted in a single piece, are still subject to the same unforgiving new “laws” of rapid Content Decay), I would rather add those in “en bloc” from my own, or other people’s writing and clippings, and keep my own writing restricted mostly to the “tip of the spear”, the most relevant, most current, most novel or insightful take or connection of dots possible.

Because that is where value, if there be any at all, can still be created. That is why I firmly believe that Curation will “win”, that it is the nearly only sane stance to take in this digital new media reality. Maybe the only thing that anyone will still pay for.

As Jeff writes: “An article can be a luxury. When a story is complex and has been growing and changing, it is a great service to tie that into a cogent and concise narrative. But is that always necessary? Is it always the best way to inform? Can we always afford the time it takes to produce articles? Is writing articles the best use of scarce reporting resources?”

That is the essence of The Content Creator’s Dilemma: Too long, didn’t write… given the pincer-like twin threat of Content Overabundance and Content Decay.

Clipped from Buzzmachine – The article as luxury or byproduct:

A few episodes in news make me think of the article not as the goal of journalism but as a value-added luxury or as a byproduct of the process.

… At South by Southwest, the Guardian’s folks talked about their stellar live-blogging. Ian Katz, the deputy editor, said that live-blogging — devoting someone to a story all day — was expensive. I said that writing articles is also expensive. He agreed. There’s the choice: Some news events (should we still be calling them stories?) are better told in process. Some need summing up as articles. That is an extra service to readers. A luxury, perhaps.

The bigger question all this raises is when and whether we need articles. Oh, we still do. Articles can make it easy to catch up on a complex story; they make for easier reading than a string of disjointed facts; they pull together strands of a story and add perspective. Articles are wonderful. But they are no longer necessary for every event.

I’ve been yammering on for a few years about how news is a process more than a product. These episodes help focus what that kind of journalism will look like — and what the skills of the journalist should be.

… In a do-what-you-do-best-and-link-to-the-rest ecosystem, if someone else has written a good article (or background wiki) isn’t it often more efficient to link than to write? Isn’t it more valuable to add reporting, filling in missing facts or correcting mistakes or adding perspectives, than to rewrite what someone else has already written?

Freeconomics New Generatives + Impulse-Purchase Pricing = Kickstarter. Better Than Gov’t Grants for Artists!?

Screen shot 2012-03-02 at 4.11.56 PMKickstarter project crowd-funding is a fantastic example of how you can still sell, even when everything (at least in the digital/content realm) is trending toward $0/FREE.

1) Notice the way that the Kickstarter set-up allows for “donation” sales of $1, what I call pure Impulse Purchase territory: The amount is low enough that the vast majority of people don’t need to bring their rational/doubting/calculating brain into the equation at all.

2) More importantly, the various donation levels (=offers) all include the New Generatives principles that can still work with #Freeconomics:

Priority/exclusive access and experience/embodiment (live stream of the performance art event), plus patronage (the self-satisfied feeling from being a patron for the arts, etc.).

Next level up: Input into the creative process – experience/participation.

Next level up: A piece of the paper canvas – embodiment, uniqueness/authenticity/personalization.

Next level up: Lunch with the artist – personalization, experience/embodiment, exclusive access, etc.

And guess what? It works like a charm… almost 4 times the stated fundraising goal!

These principles apply to music and bands just as much as by the way.

[UPDATE: And Jason Calacanis is predicting that we will soon see a multi-million $ independent movie project on Kickstarter, possibly by the likes of Quentin Tarantino. Get the movie you want made by the director/artist you want! -> More here on this Google+ post. ]

Amplify’d from Mashable – Could Kickstarter Be Better Than Government Grants for Artists?

Artist Molly Crabapple has just been given $17,000 to lock herself in a paper-covered room for five days and make art until the walls are covered.

But that sum didn’t come from the National Endowment for the Arts or a wealthy patron; Crabapple, like many in her subversive art-making shoes, turned to Kickstarter to find funding for the stunt.

In her Kickstarter proposal, she outlined the basic premise of the project, dubbed “Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell.” Anyone who donated a dollar to the effort would get to watch a live stream of the whole five-day shebang. Anyone who pledged $10 or more would get to name an animal for inclusion in the artwork; donations of $20 or more would get an actual piece of the ink-filled paper sent to them. And backers who fronted $1,000 or more would get an absinthe-infused lunch with the artist.

Crabapple set a $4,500 fundraising goal; so far, the total raised is $17,000 — enough to make a short film about the project, which Crabapple says will debut online shortly after Crabapple’s Week in Hell wraps.

From Kevin Kelly’s The Satisfaction Paradox: On why Curation will be the only thing you’ll still pay for

Walkman_Im_your_fatherBrilliant stuff from Kevin Kelly on the situation were are increasingly finding ourselves in with regard to Content Overabundance: There is more than you will ever be able to consume.

(Compare: The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We’re All Going To Miss Almost Everything – NPR ).

This is the fundamental equation you have to understand about the information economy, and Attention being its only scarce resource: While supply of content of all types is going to infinity, the total amount of available Attention remains essentially static. Thus, the price for content must by necessity trend toward ZERO.

As for Curation, here is the money quote from Kevin: “Instead you will pay Amazon, or Netflix, or Spotify, or Google for their suggestions of what you should pay attention to next. Amazon won’t be selling books (which are marginally free); they will be selling their recommendations of what to read.”

We are beginning to see many examples of this already, e.g. here: “Not #free, but close: Amazon is selling digital downloads of Lady Gaga’s newest album for 99 cents -> j.mp/jRhhZz “.

Also, there are plenty of enterprising young artists that are bypassing the old structures entirely, and are going straight to FREE + Social Media Marketing + Monetizing the value-added back-end in the ways that are the only ones predicted to work with FREE (See: Gerd Leonhard on The Future Of Selling). E.g. here: “Stanford-educated rapper embraces fan piracy – Video – CNN Money -> bit.ly/k2B3Iv

And Apple has been busily buying up deals with most of the major music labels, to presumably offer an Apple-branded “cloud-based” music streaming service very soon [this was unveiled as iTunes Match in the fall of 2011]. If they are smart, they will price it within what I call Impulse Purchase Territory, ideally somewhere between $1-5/month.

I’ve said previously that e.g. Sony is making a huge mistake by not going the $1/month route for complete/unlimited streaming music access with their own new offering:

Because “that would put it in the complete impulse purchase, don’t-need-to-think, will-likely-never-cancel-for-any-reason category. What if they could thereby garner 100 Million users, thus spending about $1.2 Billion, or in other words about 20% of what still is left of the global music industry?!”

If Apple doesn’t do it, then someone else eventually will. Only then will some in the #Dinomedia come to see, that the race was not about who was still going to eek out some residual “crumbs” profits from the Old System, but who was going to wholesale import the masses into their Ecosystem…

Instead of dumb ideas like the New York Times Pay Wall…I mean Fence, that only prove the deep denial that many from the Old Guard still find themselves in, because… well… the good old days, they were so very nice…

While they lasted. Looking at all of these examples I can’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite quotes by SciFi author William Gibson: “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

Better wake up quick, because, as Seth Godin says, “Whining isn’t a scalable solution.”

The Satisfaction Paradox

…What if you lived in a world where every great movie, book, song that was ever produced was at your fingertips as if “for free”, and your filters and friends had weeded out the junk, the trash, and anything that would remotely bore you. The only choices would be the absolute cream of the cream, the things your best friend would recommend. What would you watch or read or listen to next?

In theory, you would not choose since it does not matter. Leave it to serendipity, since every option is wonderful. If your filtering/recommendation system really is working, then anything you accept from them should be satisfying.

This is the psychological problem of dealing with abundance rather than scarcity. It is not quite the same problem of abundance articulated by the Paradox of Choice, the theory that we find too many choices paralyzing.

…what outfits like Amazon will be selling in the future. For the price of a subscription you will subscribe to Amazon and have access to all the books in the world at a set price. (An individual book you want to read will be as if it was free, because it won’t cost you extra.) The same will be true of movies (Netflix), or music (iTunes or Spotify or Rhapsody.) You won’t be purchasing individual works.

Instead you will pay Amazon, or Netflix, or Spotify, or Google for their suggestions of what you should pay attention to next. Amazon won’t be selling books (which are marginally free); they will be selling their recommendations of what to read.

You’ll pay the subscription fee in order to get access to their recommendations to the “free” works, which are also available elsewhere. Their recommendations (assuming continual improvements by more collaboration and sharing of highlights, etc.) will be worth more than the individual books. You won’t buy movies; you’ll buy cheap access and pay for personalized recommendations.”

Originally curated/published here (find additional curated quotes and links in the comments), slightly updated/edited. ]

Are the New York Times’ reports of the Death of Blogging greatly exaggerated?

rip“Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter” claims a recent article in the New York Times, based on some statistics gather by Pew Center research that appear to show a percentage decline in self-identified bloggers among the younger age groups, and stagnation among the more middle-aged set.

Is Blogging dying, or at least on the decline?

The article has sparked a good bit of debate, prompting e.g. GigaOM to retort: “Blogging Is Dead Just Like the Web Is Dead .”

But rather than latch on to the specifics of some percentage gains or losses, that may well be semantically arguable as pointed out in the Times piece, I believe the key quote to be this:

Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family.

Which is both an argument for the type of Curation-plus-commentary-plus-community activity I’ve been advocating for on my current “mini-blogging” platform of choice, Amplify.com, as well as apt to highlight what I have come to call “the Content Creator’s Plight” or Dilemma (I’ve been cooking up a longer, substantive post on this for a few months, but ironically always find myself dragged in other directions…):

It is difficult enough to keep up with our 21st century information “maelstrom” to begin with. And to arrest the flow of the real-time Web long enough in one’s mind to write much of substance on rapidly emergent, “newsy” topics, so that a post might persist in providing value for longer than a day or two. The other day I curated a post that aptly coined the term “content decay” in this regard.

In a way, it represents a massive act of will, especially in the face of what is now a fair number of professional “blogging machines” (like Techcrunch), that do nothing else.

Now add to that the fact that without already having sufficiently large, built-in audience, which very few bloggers ultimately achieve, the motivation for these “acts of will” is very quickly used up… Notice the second sentence in the above quote, which points out that many find such a built-in audience, and hence at least perceived affirmation, on their social networks of choice.

A service like Amplify, and intelligent curation tools in general, can solve at least the first issue, and while many of its curation peers are neglecting the community/conversation angle, this is where Amplify ultimately shines in solving the second problem to some extent as well.

Going back to the original question, one could say that blogging is most definitely evolving, though also certainly still alive and well:

[B]logging is not so much dying as shifting with the times. Entrepreneurs have taken some of the features popularized by blogging and weaved them into other kinds of services.

Ultimately, people are still expressing themselves online, in however long or short a form (though the trend has certainly gone toward the Twitter- or SMS-like micro-blogging), and the main differences are merely the User Interface (UI) metaphors used.

For example, Amplify has been wrestling with the issues of providing easy-to-use, elegant metaphors, while still maintaining a modicum of depth and relevance for conversation. Bigger services such as Tumblr (another mini-blogging tool) or Twitter have grown so rapidly precisely due to the extreme, push-button simplicity with which content could be created or curated, and passed along socially.

As I’ve argued before, Simplicity Wins, but there is also a fine line to walk to provide both simplicity, as well as still allow for the depth that at least some of us crave.