Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
June 26, 200811:53 PM

Mass Media Or Mass Content - What's Worse?

I remember listening to David Weinberger (co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, author of Everything Is Miscellaneous and Small Pieces Loosely Joined, and Blogger over at Joho The Blog) speak, and he said something that changed my perspective on Blogs. For a long while, I was on a kick where I thought that people should only Blog if they have something unique to say. I don't know how the conversation came up, but David made a comment to me about how anybody and everybody should Blog. There's no set bar and all thoughts, ideas and stories should be treated equally.

It was a very powerful moment for me, because I realized that your stories may not be important to me, but they are important to someone (even if it's just yourself). Blogging is a great way to put all ideas out there... and maybe, all Blogs and ideas are created equally. Maybe the amount of readers, comments and links is the "old way" of measuring success.

Maybe, just sharing the Blog thought is everything, and nothing else matters.

As I sit here in Mexico City as guest of IAB - Interactive Advertising Bureau - Mexico for their IAB Conecta 2008 annual summit, I'm surrounded by passionate people. They're Blogging in Spanish, they're sharing their ideas and - like all of us - they are surrounded by huge publishing companies and media empires. I'm talking huge ones (keep in mind, Mexico City is one of the most populated cities in the world - over twenty million strong)... and I've never even heard of most of these media companies (why would I... they're regional).

The people attending this event (Marketers, ad agency folk, brands, suppliers, etc...) are faced with the exact same challenges we all face everyday. If you're reading this, you probably believe that the future of media is not Mass Media. If mass media does go away, what's left? Everyone is able to produce, share and distribute their own content. The syndication comes in the form of RSS (where the receiver "subscribes" and receives all updates as they happen). Instead of Mass Media, we now have Mass Content.

How do we win?

Is the "win" in the fact that we choose what we want, how we want it and control how the content flows? Is the "win" in the personalization of everything?

I was looking at my Twitter feed and realized that I am lost. I'm following five hundred people, but if I step away for a hour, I simply can't effectively catch-up, and even if I could, the conversational aspect of it has already moved on - replaced by even more tweets and stuff to ponder. Basically, I'm more media saturated than ever before. Being ruthless with what I follow doesn't seem like a viable option either. There's just too many smart people out there that I am interested in following, sharing and commenting on.

Don't even get me started on FriendFeed.

But, I don't comment and share as much as I would like to. I skim, graze and peruse everything. Because there is so much Mass Content, I'm beginning to feel like I'm not even able to give the truly great stuff the time it well deserves.

And, all of this got me thinking: what's worse: Mass Media or Mass Content?

By Mitch Joel