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The New Web 2.5 Opportunity: Create Media Content Hubs
Posted on January 11th 2009
TODAY’S ONLINE CONTENT FATIGUE
Web 2.0 could be described as a phase in the evolution of the Internet that facilitated individuals in creating content within the constructs of social websites (blogs) and social networks (as participants). User-generated content was the New New Thing when it first appeared refreshingly on blogs (in 2002 blogs were being recognized as media), MySpace (2003), YouTube (2005) and Facebook (in 2006, it opened up beyond colleges).
Now, the discovery phase of Web 2.0 is over. Thinking bird’s eye level, all the content that needs to be online is now online. For example, there are literally thousands of articles (and videos) about how to raise your credit score, and using Google isn’t really going to help you find the best or most appropriate advice. Conclusion: content creation is now not as highly valued when it’s already ubiquitous and en masse.
However, one kind of content is still prized; it’s in the taglines of CNN and Huffington Post: “Breaking News“. Breaking news, in all its forms from reporting to analysis, holds the most social and economic value - world society reacts, trades and competes with New News.
MEDIA 2.5 - POSITIONING AS THE HUB OF BREAKING NEWS
The mainstream media finally figured out that journalist content creation also didn’t need to be salaried. Breaking news can now be reported by anybody in Mumbai or Gaza. Media measures its worth by traffic, and solidifying the market position of being the hub of Breaking News is where Media 2.5 is headed. That means having producers like CNN’s Tori Blase on Twitter’s front lines receiving and monitoring news stories and alerts from her Twitter network. This reinforces CNN’s status as the breaking news hub when it has dispatches at the borders of citizen journalism. News sourcing is social, every news producer must do this to stay connected with the new citizen news sources and be relevant in the future.
WEB 2.5 - EMPOWERING WEB 2.0 INDIVIDUALS TO CREATE BREAKING NEWS MEDIA HUBS
The New New Media Properties have none of the mainstream media overhead and infrastructure for collecting breaking news - Huffington Post, Politico and video-based Funny or Die are the collaborative media that Web 2.0 facilitates. All they need are writers/video producers who want syndication, and what aspiring journalists/producers will turn that opportunity down? These sites have become talent agencies that trade talent exposure for content quality, and in turn elevates their online presence and traffic.
The window is open, but nobody sees it’s open yet. Any organization, company or even a team of like-minded individuals can now create Politico-type blog network/breaking news distribution properties cheaply by leveraging Web 2.0’s blog and website design applications. A key distinction needs to be made in developing a media property - the content being created and distributed must be quality controlled to attract traffic. Social networks built on platforms like Ning won’t work due to noise and content credibility arising from any yahoo who wants to be a participant. The mainstream media understands this distinction and have been augmenting their journalistic offering with a J-School trained blogger corps (examples: NYT, SFGate), basically trading in the name “column” for “blog”.
Web 2.0 facilitates individuals. Web 2.5 facilitates the development of collaborative websites. The real estate industry in particular can leverage Web 2.0 tools to create collaborative websites that position real estate agents as local “reporters”. Properties like Homescopes leverage Web 2.0-savvy real estate professionals to break local news like the details of recent home sales only they would know about. Seth Godin mentions today that real estate brokerages should create local e-newsletters… this idea aligns with the idea of real estate agent as reporter.
You wouldn’t buy GM stock today without checking Marketwatch.com, and consumers will soon understand they won’t put an offer on a house (in this weird market!) based on month-old data. Breaking news is the killer app.
WEB 2.5 - LEVERAGING THE MEDIA HUB TO ATTRACT TRAFFIC (AND ONLINE FAME)
If you want evidence that content creation is taking a back seat to content distribution, see Justin.TV, an online streaming media application initially launched to allow the masses to chronicle their lives in video. Unfortunately, most people’s 24-by-7 lives are excruciatingly boring, and Justin.TV has evolved into the leading do-it-yourself online Cable Access channel network that facilitates anybody who wants to “program” online TV. Naturally, the most in-demand content are the free broadcasts of subscription streams of sporting events and movies… value-based content is king.
And just so content creators won’t complain that I’m positing the “death of content”, on the contrary, good content creators will now flourish, and gain access to exposure and fame much more easily with the proliferation of the new Web 2.5 content distribution channels (and let’s just call them media).
Media hubs/channels are the antidote to content fatigue by facilitating relevant filtering for discovery of great stuff. Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop and Jason Calacanis’ Mahalo are based on nothing more than the collaborative insights of what is online good “breaking news” content. Somewhat autocratic, but a simple formula. It’s no coincidence that both Guy and Jason have attuned themselves to real time trends as well-networked Twitter celebs.
What I’m trying to say is - the opportunity is build these media hubs is wide open and easy to do… the challenge is to convince your network to participate in your hub. This is the spirit of post-Web 2.0.