It’s a dog eat New Media World out there

December 2, 2008

PC World’s article “Which Web 2.0 Site Will Be the Next to Go?” reports that the very new media we explore here may have about the same infant mortality as experienced by sea turtles and new baby bunnies (AKA “the french fries of the food chain”), to mix in yet another metaphor and distort what they actually said in the post for good measure. Hey, at least I’m honest about it!

I never heard of “I want sandy” before today, and I probably won’t bemoan it’s impending demise. Twitter, I’ll be honest, I signed up for yesterday because I’m on this team and for no other reason. I’m a geek, but I’m one who doesn’t mess around with unnecessary stuff, by and large. I tried Friendster and Orkut back in the day, haven’t signed on to either in ages. But…We are not all alike and what’s useful to me might be a complete and utter waste of time to you. Hopefully overall usefulness will be a big part of what companies get bought and liquidated, co-opted or plowed into the bigger firms out there looking to buy up competition before it starts to hurt them. Even in that case, though, it is likely that the mere fact of being owned by someone else could make an enterprise less creative and innovative, as the complaint is made by my friend who now works for Google, having had his start up company bought out from under him. Google is COOL, right? Well, maybe not as cool as running your own ship.

Consolidation will probably marginalize users who like features that aren’t popular or haven’t had a chance to get that way. In which case maybe someone else will take up those features and put them into something else. The economy may well do in some of the remaining companies that don’t get bought. What will be left when the dust settles and investors start creeping shamefacedly back into the marketplace?

I’d be interested in a nice, traditional statistical analysis of the companies which have been on the cutting edge of new media and how many are still around. Does anyone here remember CU-SeeMe?
Anyone still hang out on IRC? How about UseNet? Internet Gopher? Some of the needs these apps addressed are now met other ways, even FTP has got a gui built around it as far as most people know and to the everlasting disgust of the Unix hacker of bygone days.

Speaking of cantankerous users who want what they are used to, this attitude has crept into the minds of folks who are by no means “early adopters” of networking technology. Now it’s the “AOL” users who want things the “old fashioned way,” not the guy down the hall whose computer if 5′ tall and 4′ wide and produces so much heat the HVAC guys get frustrated with trying to balance the building climate control around it.

Place your bets please!


2 Responses to “It’s a dog eat New Media World out there”

  1. mpfinneran Says:

    Going out on a limb here, but MySpace will fail. No business case. Also, some surveys show preference for Facebook because of features, ad interference, usability, etc. Here’s an interesting tibbit: in Australia, MySpace has more users than Facebook but Facebook signup has increased 300+ percent compared to a much smaller double-digit increase for MySpace.

  2. Melissa (Dorsey) McDowell Says:

    MySpace is also characterized by Horrifically bad taste, noise and loading pretty darned slowly even on DSL. I don’t know anything about their business model, or lack thereof, but with the casual teenybopper set they might have enough to offer to stay afloat.

    MySpace is “the kids’ table” of social networking to my mind, but it has potential in that, for instance, musicians and bands have signed on and put their music up. They are getting a fair bit of fan traffic this way. If MySpace is to survive I’m thinking it will need to capitalize on that.

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