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Pausing for thought about media development

This year there has been almost a frenzy as mainstream media websites bring on the latest technology with video, podcasts, more blogs with talk of social media, conversations and communities.

Could this rush be a mistake. Two items in yesterday’s Guardian suggest it might be. First on the business pages, Richard Wray reports that the Upload 2007 conference on social networking has been cancelled because there was not enough interest to make it viable. He wrote:

Fashions change fast on the internet and the latest “new new” thing – online social networks – has already become passé if the surprise cancellation of a conference early next year is any indication.

In Media Guardian, Kim Fletcher reviews the year for newspapers, writing that while a digital strategy might not guarantee success, not having one is to look like a failure. But the race may not go to the first. He writes:

There is still time to get involved, for Associated is proving that you can build an audience even if you start late. The success of the expanded Mail website suggests that there is no overwhelming advantage in being first mover. The Mail’s online audience is growing fast, and management calculates that it can catch up with any rival initiative that is shown to work. It is not a bold or imaginative strategy, but promises a safe return at low risk.

There is a lot to be said for that approach. By watching the “beta phase” for new ideas in journalism many of the mistakes can be avoided. As I have remarked before there are some terrible newspaper blogs out there and others have made similar comments about some of the video newspapers have been putting up.

The Christmas holiday is a good time to pause and think about where we are heading as the inevitable development of MSM websites and media convergence continues at a bewildering pace.

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  1. Media Blog says

    Social networking, aka virtual communities have existed as long as there have been computers hooked into networks … 25 years or more. It’s hardly a fad. Maybe it was just a bad conference.