Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Spectacle Of Me

Monetizing content in Web 2.0

"I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true. "

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

The other day I accidentally 'reTwittered' a Tim O'Reilly Tweet with out crediting the source. In his retort to the reTweet he directed me to an article he'd written in 2002 entitled "Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution"- quoting his opening discourse to make his point: "Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy".

I wrote an apology tweet, and then read the article.

Aside from learning the Latin derivatives of several words; I've been churning the following idea...

I edited these lines out of "Lesson 5: File sharing networks don't threaten book, music, or film publishing. They threaten existing publishers." I think this synopsis synthesizes the point I'm trying to spot-light.

(my high light)

"Millions of buyers and millions of sellers cannot find one another without one or more middlemen...".

"In fact, there is usually a rich ecology of middlemen. Publishers aggregate authors for retailers. Retailers aggregate customers for publishers. Wholesalers aggregate small publishers for retailers and small retailers for publishers."

"The means by which aggregation and selection are made may change with technology, but the need for aggregation and selection will not."

"If we take the discussion back to first principles, we understand that publishing isn't just about physical aggregation of product but also requires an intangible aggregation and management of "reputation." "

From P2P, Tim O'Reilly.

A friend came up to me the other day and said "Your a genius..."

Fishing for compliments? I thought

"..I was reading your blog," she continued, "and wow..."

I always avoid the 'G' word it supposes your one and in this smart-centric culture, we're headed down a slippery/stupid slope. The number of subject areas I tackle impresses people. I have a well informed and up to date opinion on many subjects (thanks Google Search Engine), and if I'm not well versed in an area I'll say, 'I haven't done my research on that yet', rather than 'I don't know' .

"Thank you" I said, "but no, I just put the work in".

In 2006 I wrote a piece entitled Web 2.0 where I attempted to gather my impressions - from my limited reading - of this new 'Web 2.0' idea. I surmised that as the content silo got higher and higher and with the cost of production falling, the price of content would eventually shrink to it's cost of production (very near Zero in my case).

So it's not the content that going to pay the rent eventually - it's a personality cult - The Spectacle of Michael Holloway. When a piece "goes viral" - when the artist makes money - the number of people who've gleaned a deep understanding of the work is few relative to the pop audience; so it's not What you write, but what people Think you write that gets you on Letterman or in the Ideas section of the Toronto Star.

I think my hero Dorothy Parker understood O'Reilly's point about obscurity when she said, "I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true. ".

Dorothy Parker Quotes


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