I said recently that my site needs a makeover. Yeah, after some more thought, not so much.
The reason? Feeds. Don't know what a feed is? Get educated. You need to know. A feed allows you to access pure content across many web sites at once. It means that you don't have to visit each web site individually to read what the web site offers.
This has a lot of ramifications... this affects everything from advertising to copyright laws. For example, if I have ads on my web site, but you're accessing my web site's content through a feed, then you, most likely, won't see my ads. (I wonder how Google feels about this?) My content now appears through a new portal, if you will, alongside everyone else's content. So whose content is it really? Does this rob me of my identity? My brand?
How my web site appears no longer matters. Sure, I'll get occasional folks browsing me from search results. But increasingly, I'll get folks trafficking my site through feeds. That's sobering.
What's more, if there is a way to bundle my content with others' content and repackage it like a front page, isn't the front page the presentation? The look of my web site doesn't matter.
I still think this technology and methodology is in its infancy. But the long-term effects are staggering.
Brands don't matter. Look doesn't matter. This is true because in this new world, you can't manage either.
It's just content. And how you attract attention to your content. That's it. And that's huge.
ETC: I was explaining to my sons that Time magazine's person of the year was them, or "You." If you're reading this, you're Time's Person of the Year. Congratulations. But they have more to say along the lines of what I'm saying:
Look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes. Raw feeds. Yes. Show me what I want in terms of content. Don't filter it for me. Don't sanitize it. Don't think you have to play editor for me. Let me do that for myself or I will find a way around you. Facilitate or die.
The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. Not the Web that Tim Berners-Lee hacked together (15 years ago, according to Wikipedia) as a way for scientists to share research. It's not even the overhyped dotcom Web of the late 1990s. The new Web is a very different thing. It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it's really a revolution.
And we are so ready for it. We're ready to balance our diet of predigested news with raw feeds from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing. You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos—those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms—than you could from 1,000 hours of network television.
And we didn't just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.
Further, let me have my own voice. Maybe that's the thing. If there is any content from beatcanvas that is worth consuming to you, you don't want it in my format. You want it in yours. You want it your way. Don't like my politics? What if you could edit that out? Don't like my art but you like my conceptual posts? What if it could be presented to you along with the content of others as you define?
The hierarchy is over. Top-down sucks. Give me tools that empower me with Mac-like intuitive ease and give me the content I want and don't waste my time with crap, be it ads or scrolling or visiting yeaterday's content. I want fresh and raw. I'll be my own editor. I'll remix as it makes sense for me to do.
Now apply all of that to any industry. Education. Medical. Financial. What if the medical community showed you a smorgasbord of medical content, expertise, testing, and so on and let you choose for yourself the best way to care for yourself, with advice from professionals along the way?
Marketing 2.0 - what does it look like and how does it play with this new era?