Media R A Team Sport

The other day I stumbled on Andilinks, a hobby page crammed with links chosen around topics of interest to linkmaker Andrea Silver. I put this notion of specialized links together with a comment by blog-entrepreneur Jason Calacanis — “blog + database + research reports = big business, blog plus nothing = a hobby.”Specialized links plus updated content may be the basic formula for Mini Media publication. There will be other ingredients (i.e. reader feedback) but links plus content seem like the minimum. Interestingly, I recently visited the home page of long-time PC writer John Dvorak, whose personal portal is dedicated to, you guessed it, links. It seems logical, in retrospect, that making a page useful to visitors in numerous ways encourages repeat visits. A while back I came across the futuristic notion of the newsmaster, a compiler, distiller and focuser of online content. Newsmasters are the stars of a though-provoking video clip called Googlezon that you can view or read in transcript. Perhaps there will be a future specialized craft called linkmakers (linkmasters being the name of some wireless firm). A quick search turned up this comment from a blog named Kombinat, “Blessed are the Linkmakers for they shall be called the children of Blog.” Speaking of which, Andrea Silver, aka Adilinks, says: “Google and other engines have their place and are best for most searches. But if you are investigating a category in depth, or need an exhaustive list of a specific kind of site you will find Andilinks valuable.” She also has a blog, which she explains in one post is not really a blog.

Just for fun I drilled down into Andilinks and found a site called Android World that seems to be a how-to guide. Interesting, but not for me. I’m already worried about my job being outsourced, the last thing I want is Stepford Writers. Next I measured my personal impact on the planet’s resources by taking an Ecological Footprint Quiz and found that I required 11 acres of land to support my lifestyle — less than the 24 acres for my peer group, but still about 2.4 times what the planet could sustain if everyone lived like me.

So that was fun, but I usually don’t just visit websites to kill time. It gets back to the usefulness comment I made above. If we want to encourage traffic to the sites we build then perhaps linkmakers will need newsmasters and vice versa. Media is a plural word and, I think, inherently a team sport. Yes, we now have tools to do more than ever by ourselves. And we should use them to express our interests. But one mind can only bring a limited perspective to any task. One of the many challenges I see ahead is making it possible and culturally desirable for online creators to combine their talents to produce wholes that are greater than the sum of their parts. For instance, what if the Andilinks robotics links were combined with insightful writings on the field?

I do not want to appear critical of an effort that I admire and could not imagine replicating myself. So I’ll say here what I said in a comment on Andrea’s non-blog blog — You go girl! But maybe you — and the rest of us solo content-makers adrift in cyberspace — shouldn’t assume we have to go it alone.

Tom Abate
Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media.