Mini Media Meme

How delightful to see the “minimedia” notion amplified in a Media Post article that begins with a charming profile of Paid Content’s 30-year-old founder Rafat Ali (shown here to the right of Business 2.0 columnist Om Malik.) The article by Cable Neuhaus notes how traditional, top-down media are being challenged by “a new citizen-centric media, a sort of me-to-you “minimedia,” exemplified by Ali and his media e-zine. Do read the entire piece but I will focus on this caveat: “One can easily envision big media rolling out literally thousands of blogs and discussion boards, launching its own podcasts, snapping up existing, high-profile sites, and trying, in essence to co-opt” consumer-generated media, another term used to describe the mini media phenomenon. Neuhaus believes co-optation will fail because “minimedia, by its essential nature, resists control.”

Really? Experience suggests that, in business as in nature, small things do not resist large things. Instead small things are drawn to large things. This will be fortunate for pioneers like Ali, who will be courted by suitors hoping to acquire the creativity that rarely exists within large bodies. When these large distributors — and that’s what big media have become — suck in small citizen journalists they will be able to spit much of their costly in-house payroll. So, yes, mini media will help change the way mass media does business. But mini media will change nothing of importance unless it aggregates to create mass and distribution and ultimately become collectively large on its own. How small are most mini media types? The article quotes Anil Dash, a vice president of Six Apart, a top blogging firm as saying, “The majority of bloggers are writing for only five to 10 friends. Fewer than 100 blogs have 100,000 readers. Maybe 50.” And what sort of money is flowing their way. In another snippet from the article, “Henry Copeland, founder of Blogads, guesses that ad bookings are still exceedingly modest. “Somewhere south of a million dollars a month” is where he pegs the total figure.” I would like to see the mini media path made broadly viable for many people, in the way that eBay creates thousands of opportunities ranging from the dedicated, prosperous full-time to the dabbler who picks up the odd buck. But I feel so inadequate even to participate in the discussion. Thus far I haven’t even figured out how to make trackback work! Oh, well. Take a deep breath. Technologically I am retarded. But at least my thinking is on track.

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