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Dale Dougherty is one of the co-founders (with Tim O’Reilly) of O’Reilly Media. Dale was instrumental in the development of O’Reilly’s publishing business, was the founder of GNN, the Global Network Navigator, the first web portal and the first site on the internet to be supported by advertising, and most recently is the founder and publisher of O’Reilly’s new Make magazine. He is also responsible for coining the term “Web 2.0″
Doing Your Own Thing
Enthusiasts do what they love and they love to share what they do. It’s a kind of design pattern for DIY culture, hardware hackers and social media. To understand the future of media is to look at how people are using tools and content to build their own social network and as we all are on Twitter – to create a following. Most don’t need capital or a business model. They are just doing their own thing.
Traditional media is characterized by a strong separation between the producer and the consumer. Now the line is blurred, if not altogether erased and this applies not only to digital media but physical manufacturing. We are seeing a new kind of user, at once a consumer of tools and applications who is also a producer of content. This new user is living in a media environment that literally puts the individual at the center. Each user has become a network.
Economist Tyler Cowens makes the point in his new book, “Create Your Own Economy”, that the tools of social media are tools of production. Value in the new economy is created largely in the minds of users. “You use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other Web services to construct a complex meld of stories, images, and feelings in your mind.”
Seeing everyone as a producer, as a maker, is a fundamental shift, especially for media. We will need to understand audiences, not just as collections of individuals but as specialized social networks. We will see emerge a new kind of social media analytics, what I’m calling socialgraphics,to explain the set of relationships among people. Everything that has an identity will have a social graph attached to it — people, content and things. We will want to know how these all are related to one another because that will explain how to value them.
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