Media leads social software

June 29, 2006

I’ve little intention to blog about web2.0 here as so much has been written about it what it might be already.

What does interest me is how video is leading people through to social/collaborative software.

It’s a icebreaker, a catalyst for conversation and so in turn builds the community, which is the structure of ‘online’.

YouTube is full of copyright-infringed video, rendered in low quality flash and forever buffers. The User Experience is not in the watching, but in the community of sharing. The business model is not the use of pre or post roll adverts; it’s the collection of metadata – specifically – tags. It’s the same reason why Yahoo! are so enthusiastic about Delicious and Flickr. The media assets are a lure to collect metadata from users.


Because the ‘big indexers’ such as Google and Yahoo! have relied upon AI to cross reference data to deliver meaning. This works to an extent, but it does not deliver meaning in human way. Folksonomy is key to index services. It fills the gaps created by AI systems.

So, using media to lure user into a community (and give them some tools to work with data), and you should have a compelling ‘sell it to google’ business model sorted.

But, commercial media is wrapped in complex copyright paperwork and user generated media (sorry, authentic media), on the whole is low quality – at least not even to the acceptable level of ‘least objectionable television‘.

Open(ish) licence models such as Creative Commons go some way to enable EVERYONE to share media, reuse for their own purposes, but it’s only the oil in the gearbox. What is required is collaboration between experts and domestic producers of media.

So why isn’t this happening?

Well – it’s starting to here, here and here.

The area to watch is where language and code work together. Being ‘digital’ or ‘online’ is meaningless without the freedom to talk to whoever and mix data as you see fit.

The anxiety displayed by publishers across all markets, who try and hold onto the copyrighted media are missing the creativity opportunities that consumer participation brings. Sure – the business model changes from licencing media to users, but the economics of a fluid market, how ever difficult it may seem to track and report on, will bring diversity and if that’s not what the consumer markets want, then what is?

It’s for the experts in media (commissioners, producers, actors and writers etc) to state what they want from their craft. Those who entered into these careers for money are the ones that will be most stubborn to change. The public will reward enthusiasm more than ‘on brand’ media.

Video media will step aside as the desination of entertainment, in favour of being a support medium for something we’ve not yet had the pleasure of experiencing. This is what web2.0 projects should be trying to seek – it’s something Google will never find.

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