Monday, April 25, 2016

How blogging and self-publishing may have to grow more vertical

John Herrman has a “bits” column (no relation to Vox technology commentator Tim Lee as "@binarybits") today, on p B5 of the New York Times, “How Online Media is tested when social media comes to town”.

Herrman describes a “publication” as a multisided marketplace:  readers, advertisers, writers (me), and, with some platforms (Facebook) app developers.

He talks about how publishers, as businesses, compare to narrower content or item sellers, particularly (in his essay) toys, when they get to mega-markets like Amazon. His ideas seem to comport with the advice of Ramsay Taplin or “Blogtyrant” – that effective content, that sells big online, is getting more specialized, taller, or more vertical in nature.  It’s the skyscraper model (New York) rather than the Paris or Washington model (broad).

This is a difficult thing for me, because I’m not interested in selling any widget (virtual or physical) as a commodity.  I like to “connect the dots”.  That is, connect content itself, rather than connect people just for people’s sake (“nice to see you” and all the spurious social introductions). Maybe it sounds like I’m planning another “big short”.  Particularly, I’d like to see some major areas that don’t get enough coverage (like energy or grid security) reported thoroughly.  But I’m not going to sell you a book (commodity)  with some magical way to save yourself as a doomsday prepper. I’ll say that from some very personal observations (not yet public) on the road, I think some of this may get more focused attention from the media soon.

Had I developed, when you, as a classical musician or composer, my own activity would be much narrower or taller now.  I might not has been as far from that goal as most people think (something I have been showing lately on my Wordpress “media” blog, and something I expect to augment).  But then, I might be in the same boat as everyone else, if something happens to all of us.

The one big “hole” in Ramsay’s or Hermman’s theory is security – how much attention, for example, do we all need to pay to https?  Plenty, if the mantra is now “always be selling” (eg, “always be closing” from the comedy movie “The 100 Mile Rule

A recent firing at Salon shows that things are getting difficult at progressive online magazines, because they really have to pay their own freight (story).

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