Comment Response

This is a response to comments from user Eyegillian.

Re: increased competition in the mediascape:

We have to consider the nature of competition, who is actually competing, and whether that competition is necessarily a good thing.

As I see it, the very concept of media competition is handed to us from the privatized, for-profit, media model that dominates the current mediascape. That competition is a result of the struggle to capture enough readers/viewers to justify charging a fee for advertisements. Competition is what happens (as you know) when a second media outlet opens for business.

So of course, we know that there are far more than two media outlets. At my fingertips are millions. But how many of those are consciously competing? Sure, Fox News, CNN, and the Times are competing, but I’m not making any effort (well, a small one, explained below), nor are most of the people maintaining a blog here at WordPress, where they disallow advertising such as Google Ads.  This distinction needs to be made, between for-profit and non-/not-for-profit media outlets.

Consider a WordPress blog.  It is written by somebody who cares enough about something to bang it out on a keyboard, expressing him- or herself for the sake of the act, not necessarily expecting a regular readership.  (I had 30+ readers the other day, a pleasant surprise, but fewer than half the next day.)  This typical WordPress blog, rather than competing with others, co-operates with other media outlets.  Blogs routinely link to corporate and non-corporate sites, creating a web of information that spreads around the readership.  Perhaps I don’t usually read the Times, but when I see someone talking about an article, I click over.  Same with blogs.  We are not competing for profits or readers, we are not beholden to shareholders, we are, instead, an information co-op.  For another example (and an explanation of how I make a small effort to compete for readers), when I go looking through random blogs and articles for content that may be similar to mine, I may leave a link to my blog beneath my comments.  However, this serves the purpose of both myself and the blogger who received my comment, as a possible connection between our respective webs of information which can help us (and readers) further explore a concept or idea.  This goes to the core of my vision of an “open source” social model, where we all collaborate together on any number of projects and gain mutual, non-financial benefits.  We are creating, or trying to create, a truly free and open marketplace of ideas.  (This is why I think we will soon see investigative reporting done by the collaborative efforts of whistleblowers instead of single reporters.  And yes, I’m eagerly awaiting this one to play out.)

Re: loss of ad revenue

Yeah, I got a bit ahead of myself with my ‘end of advertisements’ talk.  That was somewhat of a rant on my part against the professors who were completely clueless about this possibility.

Your vision of advertisements placed into artistic content is very real, already happening, and the next step should enough people block out their ads via firefox.  I can only wonder how this would go over with the audience, which will probably become ever more cynical.  I think the other thing they’re doing now, paying individuals who will praise a product or service and thus lend authenticity to the pitch, will also become much more prevalent.  (I wanted to link to an example of this but I’m not sure what this strategy is called or what search terms to use…)  I haven’t yet fully considered the possible routes this could take, but I can honestly say that this troubles and frightens me.

So yeah, to sum it up, I believe we’ll see co-operation just as much as competition, and that advertising is going to become very intrusive.

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One Response to “Comment Response”

  1. eyegillian Says:

    Thanks for your response.

    Re re competition: I wasn’t referring not so much to corporate or intentional competition, but more to the general increase in information available to the average reader who has to choose what to read. If you have an RSS feeder with all the news on your favourite topic (for example, “U.S. politics”) then there will be more information there than most people can take in. Therefore, each of these information sources “competes” for your attention, and, human nature being what it is, for the most part the winners are the loudest, most shocking or sensational voices.

    And I have to say I’m not convinced that the “open marketplace” is the best source for news. Certainly, in terms of just getting the information out there, the blogosphere and other collaborative avenues are usually the fastest. However, as you point out, most people get their information from other sources, and the further the degrees of separation, the more likely to be errors, prejudice, carelessness, etc. The example of news by whistleblowers makes me cringe. Yes, indeed, blow the whistle and draw public attention to an issue or situation, but that’s not the whole story. I’m not naive enough to think that anyone, even a journalist, has an objective viewpoint, but I do need to get more than one viewpoint on any story, and I would distrust any whistleblower’s ability to offer more than one side.

    Re re ad revenue: Yes.

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