We’re all publishers now

Terms I hate:

  • User-generated content
  • Citizen journalism
  • Web 2.0
  • Social networking
  • Mainstream Media

But you’ve seen me use them, and I’ll continue to use them, because I generally use them in a context where the short hand communicates the proper meaning to an audience I suspect largely gets it.

Terms I like:

  • Packaged Goods Media
  • Participation
  • People (instead of “users”)
  • Distributed media

This inspired by Scott Karp:

Well, no. There is a revolution in media because people who create blogs and MySpace pages ARE publishers, and more importantly, they are now on equal footing with the “big,� “traditional� publishers. There has been a leveling of the playing field that renders largely meaningless the distinction between “users� and “publishers� — we’re all publishers now, and we’re all competing for the finite pie of attention. The problem is that the discourse on trends in online media still clings to the language of “us� and “them,� when it is all about the breakdown of that distinction.

It’s time we start adjusting our taxonomy to recognize that the tools do not define the activity or the output or the people doing it. There are large publishers and small publishers. There are people who publish for friends and family, and people who publish for professional colleagues, and people who publish for a (relatively) broad consumer audience. The revolution is that ANYONE can publish to the network and that anyone can leverage the power of the network.

While I use terms I dislike, I have a hard time in my own mind separating what the so-called pros do from what the rest of us do. It is, indeed, all just publishing. It is all conversation. That doesn’t mean all communication is equal. There is a lot of crap on the non-professional side of the conversation, but not everything that has a paycheck attached is necessarily all that good, either, though some of it remains quite necessary. So if pay isn’t the distinction, and venue isn’t the distinction, and form isn’t the distinction — what is?

As a matter of taxonomy and clarity, I continue to use these terms, even as in my own mind, the categories of these labels are largely irrelevant.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged by . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply