Death of a Middleman

July 10, 2007 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

HappyKatie linked me a great article from Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. In the article he says the magic words:

The great thing about Web 2.0 is that you don’t have to depend on the media as a middle man. Our Web alerts are generated by the same one e-mail proprietary to news and paging services like 2, 5, 7, 9, CNN, KNX, etc. The public is getting it in real time and so there’s more pressure on the news entities because people are calling their tipline wanting to know more about what the LAFD IS doing.

LAFD is using twitter to feed transit alerts directly to subscribers. Wow! Alerts to SMS about traffic and problems! (I had heard Ed mention that this would have been unbelievably useful in an emergency situation like Virginia Tech.)

Do we really need media middlemen? 

Or do we just need a more streamlined method of consolidating valuable communications. Google does a pretty good job if you are seeking, but I currently use bloglines, twitter, blogs, search, email, etc… to keep abreast of valuable amateur content. I find my problem is not accuracy,  it is aggregation. So I propose that the highest offering a journalist has for me now is consolidation of valuable information. And if they don’t beat my current direct to consumer tools… then they have little value. Maybe this is the convergent power of the iphone?

Now there is a contrasting view held by some (Andrew Keen of Cult of the Amateur) that says the flood of content without expert development is drowning users with rumors, false content and misinformation. Yet Nature did a study about Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica that shows their accuracy to be similar and also that the “paid” Encyclopedia had numerous errors that an expert should not have made. (thanks AdLab)

I believe that content can be art, and journalists can ad value. A great communicator is worth money, time saved, etc. But right now content contributors and experts are more likely to get my attention if they provide a consolidation of information that I want… and not their method or skill of delivery.

 

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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