Conversation 1.9

Starting the conversation

Both The Clue Train Manifesto and Mark Brigge in “Journalism 2.0” talk about the “conversation” that has been started on the internet. What they are referring to are the new ways in which people communicate with each other. When comunication used to be linear from one side to the other, the times have changed. Rather than in a hierarchical structure, conversations are open for participation today on the internet. As the Manifesto states: “hyperlinks subvert hierarchy”.

What the Clue Train Manifesto laments is that this model has yet to reach the majority of businesses. It claims that many companies are still living in a world of paranoia trying to reveal information from their customers and maintain their monopoly status. The manifesto adresses thus a growing distance between producer and consumer that runs counter to the achievements of the global network. The Cluetrain calls to action asking companies to engage in the conversation with consumers and support the trend that will break their neck as businesses if they miss it.

A similar call for adjustment comes from Brigge. Rather than lamenting the fact that some people are still “not getting it”, he writes a “how-to” for all those interested in learning about the new “conversation”. He brings the issue to the attention of journalists and tries to familiarize them with the newest platforms that have developed in the world of web2.0, where “it is all open”.

The News Conversation

Both the manifesto and Brigge stress one key aspect of the recent development in society: The break-up of traditional a traditional linear structure or as Brigge puts it: “We send, they receive”.

For me as both a consumer and producer of news, this development is a double-edged sword.

On the producer end, I must admit I am somewhat worried about this development. Although I appreciate the feedback and the fact that it has become very simple to produce, the number of producers has drastically increased. This makes it harder to find an audience and be recognized as a producer right now while I’m a student. As a professional it will make it harder to earn money from the production. Of course, good journalists will stand out and do better than others, but I am not yet self-confident enough to place myself with those who are sure they will stay afloat during this time of experimentation.

On the consumer end, I am grateful but also confused about the new developments.

I take it as positive that I am able to participate in the process of news making. Not only is it easier to make my own news, I can also collaborate in the news others break. I can comment on a job well-done to encourage succeeding pieces and by entering the “conversation”, I can contribute to the knowledge of others. It creates a sense of community rather than being restricted to a critical, but powerless consumer.

The negative side of it is that it has become harder to find out what is worth consuming. With everbody and their grandmother being able to produce, a lot of pieces out there lack sufficient quality. On thing the new generation of consumers will have to learn is how to succesfully filter the available information and efficiently judge the quality of news reporting available.

Conversation Reloaded

Although the current situation is not yet ideal and has its bugs (thus Conversation 1.9), I look upon the developments with a positive attitude. Although I have no idea about how a journalist is supposed to live off his profession in this new environment, it is generally an environment that brings people closer together and create connections that had been lost or had not even be there before. These connections are a stepping-stone to mutual understanding all over the world.

    • michvu
    • April 6th, 2009

    I think the same when it comes to “how a journalist is supposed to live off his profession..”. Not only does that relate to the business of news, it applies to all businesses that have to deal with their content being so freely available online (music, books, movies, scholarly journals, etc.). Do you think the revenue from online advertising is sufficient enough for these content businesses to survive? Do you think there will be greater niche news sites, or less news sites b/c of lack of revenue in news?

    • huskyfan88
    • April 6th, 2009

    I agree with you on the fact that you don’t know exactly how a journalist is supposed to live in this new environment of “conversation 1.9.” If people no longer rely soley on the journalist to provide information for them, and anyone can join the conversation at any time, everybody will essentially become journalists themsleves. I think it is a great future though, because if everybody is more involved in sharing and receiving information, journalism will become way more relavent than it ever has before. People will care about news a lot more than they did before, because they won’t be able to survive without being a part of the information network. I think it is a great future.

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