Growing Pains of Web Innovation

Four of the biggest innovations on the web are experiencing serious growing pains. Let’s start with Podcasting.

Michael Arrington maintains a Podcast site in addition to his wildly popular TechCrunch blog. But his Podcast site has experienced radio silence recently. Last week he gave an update:

“The problem was mostly production time…editing sound files is tedious work. We also had two podcasts ready to go but one never went up for technical reasons and the other was delayed so long the news wasn’t fresh any longer.”

This guy is at the heart of Web 2.0, an industry mover and shaker, an A-list blogger, and he can’t seem to manage the task of creating frequent podcasts. I certainly don’t blame him, he is correct, it is not an easy process. People get the impression that you can simply speak an editorial like you would write it, but they are mistaken. To create a program that is efficient, entertaining, and informative, it takes a great deal of effort. In this mass media culture, people will have less and less patience for unedited ramblings.

Next, citizen journalism…

Romenesko cites a story from USA Today, with this excerpt:

“In their rush to get the rare Big Scoop, bloggers and other citizen journalists love to blow small things out of proportion, says Andrew Kantor. “After all, they don’t have editors to say, ‘You need more’ or ‘That’s not a story.'” Amateur journalists are here to stay and they contribute tremendously to the journalism profession, he adds, but if they hope to be taken seriously they need to learn some rules.”

There is certainly a landgrab going on for attention online. Even on YouTube alone, I am noticing would-be pundits trying to be more provocative than the others in order to garner attention.

Okay, onto Digg…

Marshall Kirkpatrick sees the stitching coming apart over at Digg. The site was a lightning rod of Web-2.0-ness, with users submitting stories, and other users voting on which stories make it to the homepage. It was supposed to be governed by the masses, democratic, and change the world as we know it.

Well, not only has their been controversy over how democratic it really is, but it seems that these delicate systems that rely on the generosity of their users are in fact delicate. Read more here.

Last one… MySpace…

An eye-opening article from Trent Lapinski that tells the real story of how MySpace started. Evidently, it was not just two guys who wanted to create a community online, but a business venture like any other. The artificial backstory was created later on to sell it to rebellious teens.

I think this reflects the importance of “story” when looking at the success of social media brands. Would teenagers have attached themselves to MySpace so fully if it did not have a story that reflected their ideals? Its up for debate, and perhaps the ends justify the means.

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