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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Buzz Off—Thoughts on Content Delivery Systems

Leo Laporte recounts how Google Buzz failed him here. His problem brings up several points for me.

Point One: we are dependent on content delivery systems. These systems may or may not work all the time. Human error, of course, can occur. Furthermore, and of more concern, the delivery systems created by Facebook, Google, Twitter, and so forth, do not share the same goals as the people using their services. For the content delivery systems, users are data mines. The content delivery systems seek the most extensive mining rights that they can get. We are mere West Virginias in the eyes of these big businesses.

Point Two: Guess what? The content delivery systems do not care about the content. The content delivery systems care about getting eyeballs to look at their ads. They want more entrants into their revenue streams, not quality content. By the way, a good synonym for revenue stream is revenue.

Point Three: For all the information and opinion and content out there, there aren’t a lot of Leo Laportes. That is, there are few distinctive voices, people you remember and want to listen to. Or there are, but there is just so much out there that it is hard to discern. Kind of overwhelmed here. Are you?

Looking at myself as much as anyone, I would recommend that people put more care into content. Not every issue needs your opinion, or mine. Typos and other evidence of rushed work should not be considered acceptable. Perhaps we could resign ourselves to offering just our A material, possibly high B as well.

I think my final  point should be this simple: take control. Must we be at the mercy of content delivery systems? The Internet vitalized many of us because it allowed us easily to broadcast our work. We found that we need not pay obeisance to the possibly contrary motives of publishers and editors. Shall we return to that freedom?

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