We Media: A look back–and forward

It’s been just a tad more than a year since the Media Center published We Media , written by Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis, and edited by JD Lasica. Widely acknowledged as a key articulation of citizen journalism and blogging, this paper reportedly led Dan Gillmor to rethink how he was writing his book, We the Media and influenced former CNN bureau chief Rebecca McKinnon to pursue citizen journalism as a full-time career.
Now, a year later, Karma Peiró, a digital journalist from Barcelona, Spain, has interviewed the We Media authors and they’ve shared the interview on their site. Points worth noting:

  • Change is not coming from traditional competitors but from the audience they serve.
  • The speed at which RSS has proliferated is phenomenal.
  • …The leadership and innovation of citizen journalism will continue to come from the edges of the new media ecosystem.
  • …We are more likely to see big media try to purchase and integrate innovation rather than develop it on their own.

Meanwhile, as much as We Media continues to influence, the conversation is racing beyond it.
In the past two months, I have heard of plans to start three or four local blog-based news businesses, three or four ecommerce or vertical market niche blogs, at least two and maybe three blog ad sales networks, one major new community platform, and at least two blog cosmos-related neat tech tools.
–And that’s without the impact of the Six Apart/ Live Journal acquisition, awareness of the true impact of MSN Spaces, and deployment of any big media plans to have more presence–and better integration–in this more distributed and participatory space.
As Dan Gillmor says “We used to call mainstream journalism the “first draft of history.” Now, I’d argue, much of that first draft is being written by citizen journalists. And what they’re telling us is powerful indeed.”
2005 may be the year when blogging became industralized–the number of conferences, consultancies, marketing agencies, etc. feeding off the growing awareness and usage of blogs is dramatic–but it should also be the year when we all remember that blogging is just a platform.
What I want to watch for is how bigger companies are handling the long tail and the disintermediation of content–and how individual bloggers, like cells in an organism, replicate and divide.
In other words–who will help build true open blogging platforms?
When can we see support for individual effort in the blogosphere that’s akin to the platforms eBay and Amazon have developed? I’d like to see the long tail help fund daily media and personal voices, as well as P2P music exchange and book distribution.
–Show me some companies addressing those issues–or individuals crafting solutions–and I will be a happy camper.