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Sep 5
Challenging Media
I was reading a blog post on Seven Generational Ruminations - "In our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations" - whoa. Deep.

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.

2 Comments/Trackbacks

I don't know if I buy this argument. Many writers self-publish in print (remember that media? ;-) ). There is nothing stopping a person from taking out an ad in every newspaper to draw their attention to their blog if Google or iTunes won't list it. Of course this is cost prohibitive but I'm just making a point that there are other ways to draw attention to whatever it is you feel compelled to share with the world.



I agree with you. While I don't think we can argue that the most obvious way to "be found" is via the search engines, it's not the only way.

I initially cast blame on the listeners/readers, but you bring up a good point that the "blame" (if there is such a thing) should be shared. Publishers have options other than just waiting to be listed in Google or putting themselves into iTunes and readers/listeners have the ability to step outside the typical avenues to discover media.

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