Mid Year Review

I have an early breakfast with a mentor and friend this morning, and another tight deadline before then. But let me take a few minutes to reflect on what I’ve been doing since I began this blog at New Years and some of what I’ve learned since then.

Mini media is what I call the creative community taking advantage of cheap computers, powerful software and broadband distribution. Some of these folks are satisfied with self expression. I am not. I want to find or create market systems in which small producers can earn a living from selling their works. Most of the money flowing into the Web today comes as advertising, and most of this goes to a few large sites. We need markets designed to give small producers a better shake. I’ve outlined some of these ideas in three blogs entitled Food for Thought ( I, II and III).

I’ve thought about payment systems, or micropayments to use the lingo of the net. Conventional wisdom says people won’t pay for Web content. That may be true. But as far as small producers are concerned, I don’t think the Web is where they’ll make their money. They may not be able to draw enough traffic. However, they can use the Web to attract an audience, and then sell other things — for example, compendiums of their works in the form of personalized magazines.

Media is manufacturing. Creativity is essential to fashioning media products. But the business is in making and selling multiple copies. Expect that to be a continuing theme. We hear a lot about multimedia. I think the better term would be multimodal — take a basic idea and produce different versions, perhaps even in different media — such as using a short podcast to tease to a longer work. Give content away for free, but charge for customization and convenience.

I had the glimmerings of an idea recently about creating media malls as physical focal points for mini media producers. I want to think more about that in the months ahead. I have to remind myself to learn more about RSS. And I think podcasting is more than a fad. Audio delivery of knowledge is at the early days of a long, strong secular trend.

Above all new media should be delivered in short, sharp bursts. The Web is all about word-of-mouth. Make products brief and easy to pass. And remember that media is a habit. To make it habit-forming, deliver it on schedule. See you Monday!

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