The Times piece today adds a nice narrative flourish,keying off AOL’s results, on the idea I’ve been talking about for some time now: That a new form of media is rising, and it’s one that the portals are not quite sure how to deal with. (For more on conversational media, see these posts).
As advertising is moving from offline media to the Internet at a rapid clip, portals, which command some of the biggest audiences online, should be among the top beneficiaries. Instead, the travails of the mass market portals like AOL, as well as Yahoo and Microsoft, indicate a decline in power….
…Part of the challenge for portals is that people are starting to approach the Internet in a different way. A new generation of Web users has grown increasingly adept at finding what it wants online and is less reliant on portals for guidance. What is more, younger audiences are spending more time on social networking sites and less time on traditional Internet portals.
…Social networking sites are not the only culprits. Thousands of smaller Web sites, like blogs, news collectors and niche content sites, are also attracting growing numbers of Internet users and advertisers.
3 thoughts on “Rise of Conversational Media”
Most of those social networking sites are still getting their information from portals. They are just distributing it – and adding a bit of opinion and perspective.
The large portals have the technology to get breaking news – then social site members or blog editors redistribute and add their colorful perspectives to the information.
Users who want to interact and discuss the matter will utilize web 2.0 services.
What should be noted is that, before the BLOG fanatism – Forums, Message Boards and NewsGroups were doing the same thing in the 1990s. It is just that blogs allow anyone to have an instant pulpit.
Digg will probably get a footnote in Web history because of the ability to organize a reaction to the quality of stories.
YouTube will get a footnote due to the fact that one is no longer dependent on portals to distribute videos or networks to release archives.
The degree of instant gratification, curiosity satisfaction and global communication is unprecedented in human history.
One can not help but wonder if the major tragedies of the last century would have been avoided or halted if society had these technologies.
The New York Times is being smart, reacting to this trend by syndicating the Freakonomics blog, for instance. Still, they’re a bit late. Old media outlets like the Times will need to keep creating premium content for the Web, rather than what it’s been to date; a carrot and stick with paid subscription models. We’ll have to see what kind of difference it makes for them once they get rid of TimesSelect.
There is certainly no doubt the we are seeing a major shift from the traditional forms of media. The article suggests that portals are in fact declining in power when one would have expected them to increase in power as a result of the emergence of a more adept type of internet user. Although I agree that internet users today are much more experienced and efficient in their use of the internet, their reliance on portals and search engines, especially Google and Yahoo, will still remain high. Even when one can navigate the internet proficiently, search engine and portal use is an essential component of any time spent browsing the internet.