Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The death-by-whimper-not-bang of Bayosphere should cause you to ask: what happened to citizen journalism? Why isn't it working? What's holding back market growth?
Clearly, it has been disruptive in Korea, so it can work (unless you believe that everyone's mystically really different).
My answer's simple: citizen journalism is working. With a few caveats:
1) Much of it's decentralized - ie, blogs.
2) Much of it's happened in verticals which don't need marketing because they have natural cool dynamics.
3) Amazingly, those CJ plays that are venture backed have built no understanding of how to drive scale.
3.5) Part of this problem is that many verticals do need marketing - because CJ is so low under the radar, joe 6pack has no idea what the hell it is. I don't mean $$$ super bowl ads with lovable puppets - but I do mean some basic level of awareness building.
4) Much of the failure is of VCs, who seem to be unable to help the entrepreneurs they're backing articulate a coherent value proposition for citizen journalism plays - because they don't understand the dynamics of consumer markets.
5) All of this is absolutely astounding, given the fact that the market size of people fed up with big media is huge (and growing).
See these earlier comments on your site.
Bayosphere didn't die. It was stillborn.
The phrase itself - "citizen journalism" - reeks of an arrogant us and them approach.
What I see as I read the media pundits who are dying (in more ways than one) to participate in what they see happening today is a regression to an adolescent fantasy: I can be one of the cool kids if I learn to talk like them.
The journalistic mentality has nothing legitimate to contribute to the discussion. How many heads have to be kicked in before they understand that? Why is it so difficult for them to see how tedious and ridiculous they appear to the world they want to join?
Why don't some of the VC backed citizen-journo sites pay some bigtime bloggers to be part of the experiment?
The main problem with most of these sites is that there's no incentive for anyone other then a total dork to write there.
We all know people are influenced by other people, and surely if (to use the example given) Trent from Pinkisthenewblog started blogging at one of these sites, along with 50 others like him in various categories, others would want to join.
"5) All of this is absolutely astounding, given the fact that the market size of people fed up with big media is huge (and growing)."
You mean I'm not alone?