The conversation society

I just quoted Cory Doctorow and his interesting conclusion about the fact that content isn’t king. It’s all about the conversation. Yes, of course you need both content and conversation, but he’s on to something.

100 million MySpace users and 57 million bloggers have joined the conversation. The internet is slowly showing one of it’s best strengths as a media channel. Two way communication.

In the ninties we talked about “the information superhighway”. More information. Easier available. Big media companies wanted to enter the highway and talk one way like they always have done.

Here you are. Our content. Our judgement. The truth and nothing but the truth. We rule. We’re journalists. You listen.

As we’ve always done with new media we simply put existing media into it. We have newspapers, let’s print the stuff on web pages. We have TV, let’s play the stuff in nice web based players.

MTV plays the stuff in nice web based players. MTV used to be pop culture. Important for young people. Setting the agenda. Showing the teens what to wear, do, listen to and like.

Here’s MTV compared to MySpace and YouTube, two sites that are full of teens, pop culture, music and rebellion.

The chart is from Alexaholic and shows two years of traffic on the sites. YouTube is the red one, MySpace is the green one and MTV is the blue one at the bottom that you barely see…

If the internet is an important distribution channel to reach young people and the Alexa charts are even close to the truth it seems like MTV have a problem.

This conversation thing is interesting for sure. Just for fun I googled an exact search for “the information society” and  got more than 2 million hits. I figured that someone out there had already started talking about “the conversation society”, but that one gave only 24 hits. None of them used the term in the context of social media. You read it here first.

The conversation society

6 thoughts on “The conversation society

  1. I must admit that I haven’t found anything of any interest inside MySpace. Every single page I have seen is just some insanely bad design with huge amounts of irritating images and puerile comments from people.

    So, I agree. It sucks. But it’s huge! I guess more than 100 million people can be wrong.

  2. atle b says:

    Well, you’ve upped the ante – the Google count now stood at 54 – with three of the top five referring back here. How is that for instant visibility?

    On to the comments (that got filtered last time around two weeks back):

    If you change the viewpoint slightly, there is already a term and a discussion – namely “conversational media” clocking over 56 000 hits. I view it partially as a spin-off from “participatory journalism” and other ways of saying user-generated content.

    Which brings it back to your current topic of content – is it “content” when I say to my co-worker “Gee, it’s raining outside. Again.”? Does it become content if I post it to a MySpace page? Then how about if I type it in MSN? It is saved, it is visible and there are ads making it a commercial “channel”

    The main problem I have with YouTube and MySpace is that they take ‘traffic’ from everyday actions, and make it into “The Next Big Thing”:

    zapping the channels on the tv you can scan the 20 channels twice in five minutes – does that mean you have just had “40 video views”?

    talking nonsense to a friend to pass time – is that debate and commitment?

    Like Bruce Springsteen said – 57 channels and nothing on – so why not spend time mindlessly looking for that one great video on YouTube? While posting the best links to your friends MySpace page?

  3. Perhaps its not the “age of conversation” exactly but the “age of communication”

    the point isnt just social networking between individuals but “direct communication between individuals and the bands or actors etc. directly!

    yes i agree that myspace pages arent as interesting to veiw as MTV… but what do we need MTV for when we can talk to any musician we want directly on myspace?

    that is what it means to live in the age of communication.

  4. Yes, the communication and the power of the long tail. As long as we have the tools to find that special content that exactly fit our taste and interest we’ll also accept lower technical quality.

    Even if that video of Seth Godin doing a fantastic presentation isn’t produced with the quality of “Lost” or “24” I would probably choose to spend my valuable 30 minutes on Seth rather than Agent Bauer…

    And, the same goes for music. That band’s page on MySpace might not look like the polished stuff on MTV, but it is more interesting because of the possibility for direct communication and the fact that you can take part of a community.

    You might also want to take a look at this:
    How to market music on the internet

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