Wednesday 8 July 2009

Audience, Publisher and Publience


The potential efficiency for peoples consumption of new and information content has improved exponentially with the advent of twitter. On my iPhone, I can consume 50 messages, and click through to maybe 10 pictures or articles in about 5 minutes. I can’t do that any other way. I wouldn’t know where to click, what is of interest, or what is good. If I was to try to do that actively, by visiting blogs, news and scanning, I’d be burnt out in 30 minutes. With twitter, it’s a passive experience, and stimulating rather than tiring. On twitter, I have a filter of likeminded individuals who will scout out good or relevant content for me, and say, ‘look at this’ and give me a hashtag to identify its nature. And, of course, I do the same for them.

Having 200 hand-picked sub editors at your beck and call is a great thing. Not only can I consume perhaps 10 times more efficiently than before... what I can consume is 10 times more pertinent, relevant and of interest. That makes 100 times, of something. There’s no need for surfing. This way is so much quicker, and just works much better.


Publishers have fragmented the access to their content, and their content. Newspapers with 30 pages have become headlines to articles from a certain category tweeted to the interested. They are more interesting to the consumer because of this filtering. I’m not interested in Irish party politics at the moment, but I get tech news articles tweeted to my iPhone from the Guardian, and a host of other mainstream sources... ones I’d never buy. One ‘publication(s)’ has 100 articles in 20 categories tweeted to a couple of million readers... Now, that’s a business model... if it carries even a tiny logo from a business. Think about it. Eminently trackable. Eminently costable. Eminently consumable. And so turn-on-and-offable.


I tweet therefore I am. Tweeting and reading and @ing and DMing. SMS, meets Email, meets Blogging, meets feedback and CRM meets advertising, networking and social media. Where do you draw the line between the audience and the publishers when the audience is a publisher in their own micro or macro blogging or social media , or forum posting right. You don’t. Bloggers and tweeters become journalists too, (cf. Persiankitty and many other examples.)

The Mix of Sliding Scales

Through the twitter filter of follower and following sub-editors, the capacity to engage with the world grows, but the exposure to linear, non-filtered content shrinks.

The remit of the public service broadcaster involved creating content to educate and enhance the population. It involved making programs they may not actually have asked for, or want, so that their exposure to ‘educational’ content would be increased, something impossible in a wholly commercial environment. The twitter fan-base of friendly followers and tweeters has no such remit.

But, it’s a sliding scale. The capacity to get content not offered by a mainstream source increases hugely and a lot of this can be educational and enhance a population.

Also, the capacity for states to control a nation’s view of the world, as soviet Russia did for its own population for perhaps 50 years, has shrunk. Propaganda is a much more difficult game than it used to be.

But, it’s a sliding scale. The capacity for the creation of factions, with an intensely ideologically driven micro view of the world... however inaccurate that may be, has increased. Twitter creates cliques, and not all cliques are hobby driven, or benevolent.

The capacity for slanted or misinformed views to fly around the world has increased too with twitter. But, so too has the capacity for the correction of incorrect or misleading information. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. It’s a sliding scale.