They’re the storied predecessors of Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The “Big Three” weekly news journals were the foundation of news and more specifically, media. The publications roared through decades as established bastions, unflappable sources of information for generations of American readers. They appeared untouchable — until they were. The age of participation was ushered in with the Internet. No longer were we reading one way, digesting our news and ideas from a finite group of professional editors and writers; the experience became a conversation — an exchange of expressions. We read not one source, not a dozen, but hundreds, sometimes even thousands of individual, independent expressions, and we also share our own. Hence, large mass print publications struggled; some became irrelevant and ceased doing business.
But how much has truly changed? How “untouchable” is Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube as “generalist” venues for digesting and sharing information?
If the history of traditional print journalism taught us one thing, it provided a clear example of the progression from simplicity toward fragmentation. If there is one successful model built for a mass audience, you can bet that there is an entrepreneur ready to carve out a sliver of that for a more specialized community. It’s the nature of business. Fewer eyeballs reached = smaller startups = manageable investments.
Now, in recent days we hear about the broad defection from Facebook by teens. Consider a service that was once established for college students, and later overtaken by an audience of one billion baby boomers and mature audience members being suddenly unappealing to Gen Y. Young people not wanting to hang out with their parents? Who would’ve thought?
A new website called Daybees has rolled out in the UK, and is coming to the US and other countries soon. Positioned to compete with Google in one specific area — events — this service positions itself as the world’s largest events search engine. Wherever you are, how perfect would it be to call up this site and punch in a few simple coordinates to see what is happening nearby?
“I love Google,” said Gary Morris, the founder and chief executive of Daybees. “I use it umpteen times a day. But if I want to find an event that’s taking place at a certain time on a certain day, 2,000 feet from my front door or wherever, it’s impossible.”
Technology has empowered us in ways unforeseen. It has created this ability to find what we want, when we want, and how we want. Now more than ever, it’s up to information service providers to deliver on that brand promise.
After the fragmentation of digital media, what new technologies will replace it?