Rich Skrenta thinks its time to throw in the towel on “we media.” Jeff Jarvis disagrees.
The problem is that the hopes that Dan Gillmor raised for the media industry in his book â€” which kicked off this whole business â€” have largely failed. . . .There is actually a media revolution in the works. So whatâ€™s going on here? By implicit definition, participatory media is non-commercial. If itâ€™s commercial, someone owns it, and itâ€™s not â€œweâ€? anymore.
There we disagree. Thatâ€™s the problem with PayPerPost, not with commercially supported media, big or small. And we have not even begun to plumb the possibilities of commercially supported networks of small media.
I think Rick’s basic mistake, and one that Jarvis doesn’t correct, is that Rick is seeing “we media” as just another entity. He’s seeing the companies that do Web 2.0 sort of things as ends rather than something you ignore at your own peril. We Media exists, but not in any way that can be corralled by a definition that makes it a thing. And no company, or any collection of companies or individuals can own it. It is not a thing. It is an experience. You can’t own the conversation. You can only participate. And you can’t avoid participation. Every person, company or organization that puts communication out there is part of the conversation, whether it knows it, cares about it, likes it … or not.
To judge We Media by any piece of its parts is to miss the point. The conversation has always been there — in letters to the editor, in coffee-shop banter, in water-cooler talk — it’s just that digital media is bringing it to the fore in ways that are new, different, more egalitarian, more distributed, and I would say better.
Skrenta cannot honestly say Gillmor’s “we the media” vision has failed. These blog posts prove otherwise.