Sunday, April 17, 2011

Where is my digital magazine?


With the millions of new blog posts, news articles, tweets and updates posted daily, getting to the content we want in real time is easier than ever. The only caveat: we need to know what we want.

Traditionally, we have relied on the major publishers and distributors to feed us the content in the form of newspapers, magazines, journals, books, etc. The publishers would decide what content would 'sell', and will then 'productize' it so people can get access to it.

This model worked really well for over a century. However, there was one big inefficiency with this model: The content creator didn't really get much in terms of control or revenue. In fact, for most cases, less than 15% of the revenue of a book goes to the author. The publishers and distributors were able to pull this off because they basically controlled the supply chain.

Now, with the power of the 'internets', anybody can create a piece of content and make it accessible to users in the same way as a big publisher does. So there are a million new pieces of content created every day, ready to be consumed.Of all the awesomeness of this new model, one thing that is terribly broken is the part where publishers curate the content to make sure that it is of a certain quality before it reaches the users.


In the publishing industry, there are people dedicated to reviewing thousands of articles, book ideas and other content before something gets published. Because of the limited space available in physical media, they have to be quite picky what gets included and what doesn't.

I think that there is a massive opportunity right now to do this with online content. I have been relying on my social graph to get interesting content daily, but its still too much content and too little variety. What is needed is for someone to create a special 'magazine' on the internet that is both personalized for my taste, but also contains enough variety so that I can 'stumble' across interesting topics.

I highly doubt that something like this can be completely crowd sourced. It will have to be a hybrid between a person collecting interesting content along with stuff that is popular. There is a dire need of a 'human touch' here - a curator for online content.

Unless someone does this right, it is going to be difficult to justify its value. However, the time is ripe for someone to create a 'Facebook of Content'.. a place where everyone goes to get the latest news customized for their taste, but also containing enough variety :).

Till this happens, back to twitter + facebook + google news + google reader + timesofindia.

Dwipal


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vincentgallegos/4562911007/