David's post is well written and has some great points. He points out that it doesn't really matter if citizen media has allowed the common person to self-publish because the delivery mechanism is still controlled by the Googles and iTunes of the world.
"There are certain services that act as gatekeepers. If these services decide to not list some web site, then nobody will know about it. If Apple doesn't list your podcast in the music store, how will people hear of you? Similarly if Google doesn't list you in their directory, then how will people hear of you?"I agree with David in that this is definitely the state of the nation. I don't agree that this is the fault of the gatekeepers, however. This situation lies firmly in the realm of the listeners or readers.
I spoke at the Western Linuxfest back in May (MP3 and OGG. 1 hour, not edited and recorded on an iRiver). While the thrust of my talk was about podcasting with Free and Open Source tools, I spent the first part of my time talking about what citizen media was and how it's affecting us. For the first time in history we are faced with the possibility of filtering our own media. Instead of choosing between 200 satellite channels, we can now choose from 10,000 podcasts. Are we up to this? Even if we are, does the average citizen have the ability to take on the task?
The tagline of my company, KPG Media Corp, is "Challenging Media". I mean that in two ways: we're challenging traditional media, yes. More importantly, however, we're producing challenging media in that only engaged listeners with some critical filtering skills and motivation to "see what's out there" are ever going to look at podcasts, videocasts, and blogs. Let's face it - your "average" media consumer (I hate that word, but I can't find a better one) isn't going to lift a finger to filter their own media.
Somewhere in between the citizen media fanatics and the lethargic masses, we have the group of people who exist in the state that David is talking about. These people are interested enough in citizen media to look around, but they are funnelled by the gatekeepers who control the feeds and the publicity.
If we agree that the gatekeepers hold all of the power, then the real question has to be "who's fault is it"? I submit that the only listeners and readers who are being affected by the Googles and the iTunes aren't the energized and interested audience that we're going for.