Digital Publishing: It's a Feast, If You'll Scavenge
Somebody tell me why everyone at ad:tech Miami has a Blackberry, and nobody seems capable of switching off their festive little ringtones during the sessions.
While the speakers for Publishing in the Digital Age: Feast or Famine? make product pitches in polite succession (how different from the debate and discourse at previous ad:techs!), I finally locate the take-away: Internet publishers are sitting amidst a feast.
(Note pirate - get it? Like online piracy? - feasting at left.)
To most succinctly make the point all panelists eventually (and predictably) made, Juan Felipe Castano, Information Portals Director at El Tiempo Colombia, reminds us where it all began. The evolution is conveniently timestamped to accommodate our current Web 2.0 status:
Web 0.0 - Collaboration
Online collaboration was born when people expressed the need to share information (o rilly?). Primary communities were developed that are probably quite familiar; namely, .gov, .edu and usenet-type destinations.
The evolution of 0.0 brought us to 1.0 - Commercial Web. Here you begin to see a one-way discussion, in which companies are beginning to reach out to The Consumer, who is absorbing the information we are creating.
Online brochures, for example, begin to appear.
At 1.5 you see Basic Interaction. People talk back! Comments, ratings and reviews are born. It's not very fluid yet, but there's clearly something simmering.
1.5 brings us to 2.0, the Social Layer. Here you find the result of two voices - marketers' and consumers' - finally achieving the same frequency, that bastard lovechild called UGC (with its ugly cousin, online piracy). And it's wily. And it sees no boundaries. And it takes and takes and takes.
Based on this evolutionary model, Felipe posits we're sitting before a publishing feast because there's a world of new material being moved, and made, by both users AND newsrooms.
I have nothing against the panelists or the conference at large, but nobody is saying anything we haven't heard for the last two years or so. The only difference is, hyperbole like "scalability" and "open source" have been added to the mix. Clearly Web 2.0 is evolving.
If there's nothing else worth taking away from Feast or Famine? (Feast!!!1111), do remember this: Latin Americans are no different from any other demographic.
Like the fully-fluent Echo Boomers we've all come to know and love, the young Spanish- and Portuguese-speakers of the nation and world consist of uncountable subcultures that all want to be reached on their own terms.
My closing word: just keep your ear on the tracks. Become more of a news gatherer, quietly collecting your information from the people that know best - actual members of the culture. They are more than happy to furnish you with everything you've ever wanted to know about themselves.
That's right - to feed the pirates, one must scavenge.
In the words of a drug dealer from the cinema classic Layer Cake, "The art of good business is being a good middleman."
Really, little has changed. You just need to be situated between the right parties.