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November 2005 - page 5

Achtung

in Uncategorized

Fred Wilson has a nice post on the impending attention crisis, courtesy the explosion of media, particularly online:

Most of us have day jobs.  Many of us have families.  So we have a
limited amount of attention left.  And I suspect we are consuming most
of it with what we’ve got on our plates today.

So where does the attention come for the next wave of blogs and web
services?  From the old ones, I guess.  In my case, its not going to
come out of my family’s attention allocation or my firm’s.

So attention is a zero sum game and if we are creating (at an
exponential rate?) more uses of attention, then we are facing a looming
attention crisis.

That’s why we think that The Daily You is the most valuable feature we’re going to offer– We’ve designed our site so that we’ll take up as little of your attention as possible, while connecting you to people, places, events and businesses that impact your daily life.

Sure, Yahoo! and other national players are trying to do this– but they can’t yet meaningfully get to a hyperlocal level. There’s the quandry– National sites have a "last mile" problem. Just last week I was talking to the CEO of a company with reason to know what kind of mainstream site RSS feeds people subscribe to most often — And the number of subscriptions is directly proportional to the level of locality.

Another citizen's media conference

in Uncategorized

CjOur own Kevin McCrea attended J-Lab’s Citizens Media Summit last week. His takeaways from the confab:

Random bits of info I picked up last week at the media
conference:
  • Very easy to get people to contribute photos.  Flickr interface particularly
    good.  People are generally more comfortable sharing photos than
    writing
     
  • As we’ve learned before, some contributors like to be edited before their pieces
    are posted
     
  • Few like to be called "citizen journalist"
     
  • Partnerships (with other publications, etc.) are beneficial but eat up more time
    than anticipated
     
  • VoicesOfSanDiego.com, which is a non-profit, uses a PBS-style "membership
    program"
     
  • desire for more "technically savvy" journalists, particularly those who could
    integrate photo and video
     
  • YourHub.com: licensing (or, in their word, "syndicating") its platform
    throughout the country, with papers in CA and FL going live by the end of the
    year . . . having .
    a "this week’s topic" to lure contributions of a particular theme has never
    worked for them . . . has 42 websites and 15 print editions . . . used frisbees
    and dog chains in its promotional efforts . . . 26 employees . . . "people love
    the print edition" but it confuses people into not knowing about the website . .
    has a full-time customer service rep who would-be contributors can  call so
    that they can be walked through the steps of what needs to be done to contribute
    . . uses Unisys as a publishing system . . . "will be profitable by December"
    . . 7000 registered users . . . discovered that promoting the ability to
    contribute stories actually discouraged readers who simply wanted to read
    without contributing . . . took a while to realize that it is not a
    newspaper, and has already changed the website to get away from a newspaper look
    and feel
       
  • community reachout requires continual marketing even beyond the
    launch
     
  • check out BBC Video Nation for idea of how citizen video contributions can work
    well
     
  • even if a contributor is looking to publicize themselves through their pieces,
    that is still OK since that leads to promotion of the site itself (from
    Bakotopia
    band site)
     
  • at Bluffton Today, everyone who is photographed randomly for the site gets a
    business card that says "you’ve been spotted . . . check yourself out at
    blufftontoday.com" — great idea!!!
     
  • Adrian: encourage citizens to contribute technology, not just text/photos, to
    take better advantage of our content . . . BBC has language that encourages its
    users to create things with its tools
     
  • one paper discovered much less profanity in comments without a filter because
    that ended the gamesmanship and uses an eBay "trusted seller" model for
    contributors
     
  • Mary Lou: make contributors the stars . . . "If it’s local & legal, we
    publish it.  All of it." . . . continually suggest easy ways for people to
    contribute — photo contests work particularly well . . . print big for
    marketing and revenue . . . three out of four staffers not from the newspaper
    business, and staffers have to be open to a new kind of journalism . . people
    like to be edited
    .
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