Thursday, June 18, 2009

"The media needs to find its place in the new-media world. It will be needed. There were already concerns that the Iranian government was sending out disinformation on Twitter in Iran. Just as Twitter becomes an effective medium, it will surely be co-opted by evildoers and hucksters who can take advantage of its lack of filtering. There will be a need to curate the growing tsunami of information." -Larry Kramer

Whose motto is "Nothing sacred but the truth?" I read a reference to that the other day. Perhaps the truth is sacred, but like many sacred things, it wears many faces and is invariably interpreted on a thoroughly subjective basis.

And we can't say "Nothing but the facts," because the facts are out there. People don't read lists of data, and are often incapable of doing so due to time constraints or lack of ability to understand the format. What people need is collation, analysis, and fact-checking, compiled into readable narrative.

We need people who will do that, and we need a way to pay them. Is there a viable subscription model? I have a hunch that the subscription model that works will be related to a form of technology that has not yet caught on, either hardware or software based. It's not just that people won't pay for content (although there's truth to that); it's that they can't do it easily.

People are afraid of their financial information being stolen, or of being charged multiple times for the same service if they forget to cancel or if a mistake is made. They don't want to bother pulling out the credit card when they're comfy in their desk chairs, and typing in 16 digits plus expiration date. They don't want to deposit money in a special debit account; what if they need that money for something else?

We need a way for people to pay for content directly and securely from their credit and debit accounts. Micropayment needs to be a part of the model. We also need tiers of pay models that don't require consumers to pay five, ten, fifteen, fifty different sources for information. I don't want to give up surfing from NYTimes to WaPo. Aggregate services won't necessarily be the end result of this information transformation, but I do believe they will play a major role in the next wave.

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