Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Site-Less Internet

In this post, I will ask you to recall the internet 10 or 15 years ago. Back to the mid to late 90s era internet. Everything was pushed at you. Websites existed and they were self-sufficient. The website was the be all and end all. Today, the concept of actual webpages is being changed into something wholly different from what it was a decade ago. We are entering into the era of the “site-less internet” where people pull in whatever news and other content they desire

This idea was talked about in WIRED's article from August, titled The Web Is Dead. That article talks about the web on the whole transforming from simply the browser-centric web to the new internet landscape. I will focus in on news and content in the post.

The evidence of the new "site-less" internet is present everywhere. In commercials and news broadcasts, it is as common to see a plug for a companies’ Facebook page rather than a static company page. CNN's facebook page has nearly 1.5 million fans.

The flow of information and news in this new landscape is different. Information is made on one platform and is trickled down to others and flow through the internet via RSS readers, link aggregation sites, twitter and others. This trickle down of news creates what Professor Alves termed as the new journalistic ecosystem. There become many new ways for content to be monetized. I attended Les Moonves's speech at UT. He elaborated saying that now content is on multiple streams and this provides multiple sources of revenue.

Of course, some sites exist as stand-alone behemoths, but I believe to be a successful content creator or organization making content available, easily transferable and open is vital. Having a Facebook fan page or twitter with followers allows companies to “manage” their followers or fans and communicate with their fans on the fan’s own terms with a system that they trust and are comfortable with.

I googled site-less internet and found just a few other people that recognized and commented on this phenomena. This change will not be realized over night, but one day we will look around and see that what we first imagined the internet to be will have changed.

For journalists, this means that our content could be seen by many more people, but on the other hand attribution and revenue could change. In the end, the main concept is change. The internet will be changing and journalists must continue producing content worth reading to stay relevant.

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