Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.


Author:Ryan Tate
Posted:5/31/1999; 12:29:22 AM
Msg #:6891
Prev/Next:6890 / 6892

Eventually the monolithic portal will be as big a liability as brick and mortar is today. Weblogs will enjoy their day in the sun, which looks like what's happening now, but even weblogs will disappear, will go the way of the portal.

important counterpoint: this is not a zero-sum game.

that is: the growth of the internet and the rise of e-commerce (and the portal and the weblog and ...) need not (and does not) come at the *expense* of old institutions.

remember: brick and mortar are not greater liabilities today than they were in 1992. the cost has not gone up, and the benefit has not been diminished. we still need them, and they will still thrive.

the web offers unique efficiencies, and in some cases a more elegant cost/benefit than brick and mortar. but, on the whole, it has created new, extra markets that supplement -- rather than displace -- the old markets we've known for so long.

markets and mediums, with very few exceptions, do not disappear, or even shrink. airports and airplanes did not replace harbors and boats. 18-wheelers did not end railway traffic. the telephone did not kill the postal service, tv did not kill radio, the internet will not replace newspapers.

and weblogs will not eat portals. nor will anything kill weblogs.

as time marches forward, even old, unfashionable mediums seem to grow. their niches may narrow, but they still retain their old strengths, and sometimes discover new ones. and, somehow, they reach new heights, make more money, do more business. what radio star in radio's golden era of the 1920s and 30s made the kind of money (adjusted for inflation) that howard stern or rush limbaugh or don imus do? and does the average citizen today receive a greater or smaller number of letters each day than a citizen in 1910?

so get used to yahoo and excite and netcenter, and to scripting news and

on an unrelated note, it is a common, tired and somewhat shallow criticism of established news media to assert (as many do, almost always without evidence) that they serve some greater master, that they are lapdogs of the elite, or are owned by their advertisers. that radical, alternative or personal reports are somehow more trustworthy, more above-board with their bias.

but dow jones (proprietor of the wall st journal), the new york times company and, yes, even (cnn founder) ted turner did not make their billions by serving any elite masters -- unless by masters you mean readers and viewers. their reputations and, in turn, their earnings have rested entirely on the fact that consumers trust the information they provide.

certainly there is room to improve the accuracy and quality of old-media information, and webloggers can assist greatly in this. filtering is, indeed, a form of feedback.

but the relationship is symbiotic: without quality information to link to, webloggers would not exist. they cannot be any better than the best original content out there. and if the wsj, ny times and cnn are serving their masters, are untrustworthy and going the way of the dinosaur, the situation is dire, indeed.

cheers ryan

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