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August 03, 2006

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Comments

The encyclopaedia may have a British name, but that's a false friend; it's been firmly in United States hands for more than a hundred years (http://corporate.britannica.com/company_info.html). So even that isn't giving the non-US perspective that the book might.
I don't personally think there is anything (currently) to suggest that the phenomenon under discussion exists anywhere outside "The changing economics of entertainment in the United States."

Bruno: I was writing a blog the other day about the limitations of blogs – the interactivity limits (blogs followed by comments to which responses usually don’t follow). In this sense, blogs, like all communication channels have their limits depending on their purposes. If our purpose, for example, is to identify a means of bringing about peace, then blogs are useful as vehicles to convey suggestions but fall short in terms of the kinds of dialogues we really need to accomplish the goal. A blog is posted, people respond, but the blogger rarely responds to them or to other bloggers. In fact, I was musing about how we’ve yet to invent a medium that is superb at enabling that kind of dialogue – of facilitating access to great ideas out there from people who are less known. So, while the long tail concept is indeed intriguing, we are still quite limited in terms of where we get information and certainly how it comes to our attention, despite Google. Even as Chris Anderson noted on his quite interesting site, his book, ironically, sold the old fashioned way – an author fortunately getting the right publicist or a crucial review in the mainstream media. I’ll really believe in the power of the “long tail” when I see that contrived limited access highway to visibility split into a thousand small avenues and some truly surprising ones followed by some great success stories. And we’ll all rejoice when we find a way to bypass current media limitations to create a blog-like medium that holds our attention on particular subjects, provides true dialogue, and thereby facilitates the solving of the most significant crises of our time. (Here’s a site that’s way at the tip of the tail – a niche for sure – that may help people if they find it -- http://web.mac.com/reardon_on_painting ). Or maybe the mainstream media will just have to find it! Kathleen

Kathleen: I totally agree with the premise of your comment: in their current form, blogs aren't really a medium for "conversations". They're somehow just an inch beyond the definition of self-publishing tools, but still way on this side of becoming a platform for a sustained dialogue. I had a discussion on this very topic earlier this year with Robert Scoble (which I blogged here: http://giussani.typepad.com/loip/2006/02/blogging_frustr.html) and we put forth some very initial ideas to increase the "conversationality" ratio of blogs. And of course there are also non-tech limitations to global dialogue: language and time in particular. But some bloggers are starting to, as you say, "hold our attention on particular subjects" by becoming the center of small or big communities of interest, by directing the traffic within those communities. That's, I believe, also the new role of journalists ("mainstream media").

Readers might be interested in this talk by Chris Anderson, provided by itconversations.com:
http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail477.html
Quote: "Economics of the Long Tail: [snip]
The talk by Chris Anderson is followed by a conversation with Joe Kraus, the CEO of Jotspot, in which they discuss how the failure to understand the significance of catering to the long tail of the advertising market led to the downfall of the Excite search engine. Joe also talks about his experience of currently running a company whose products are targeted at the long tail of the market."

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