The Market as a Conversation

The Market has been changing.  Yes, that’s a capital ‘M’… for, um, Media.

I was recently reading about shifts in teh intertubes and the companies that are trying to operate and adapt to them, especially the media megaliths and content publishers.   I’m not the first to notice that it’s no the same world that we grew up in when it comes to where and when we find our news and entertainment.

But, on a whim, I jumped to Wikipedia to see what it had to say about Web 2.0.  I was looking for some lead-links to other content or interesting points.  (I frequently do this when I want a springboard into more detail.  I don’t trust the content outright, but if I want an overview of these large-scope topics, I find it’s often a better starting point than any search engine, since it’s compacted, boiled-down stew of ideas)

One or two particular phrases jumped out at me in the definition section.  The first one, that, to me, really sums up the way the expectations for which audiences (i.e., you and me) will rant, rave and possibly tar and feather, is the quote that states that “the market [is] a conversation”.  It’s beautiful.

I mean, you can argue it’s always been that way.  You speak with your wallet.  But I always felt that it was overbearingly one-sided.  The Man told us what music to listen to, what books to read, and what movies to use to melt our brains, purely through what they decided to publish.  If it wasn’t approved by Senor Megalith, Talent Scout of World-Runners Corporation, it wouldn’t get out there.  You just had to pick what was CEO-tested, Megalith approved.

Now, though, there’s (more) two-way conversations going on.  Musicians can self-publish through various community means, or just through bold online gambles (a la Jonathan Coulton).  New has been solidly online for a while, but now there are millions of editors to make commentaries.  Book publishers don’t have to take as much of a risk on a writer, and can just use on-demand printing (e.g., like mentioned here).  Heck, writers can just jump online and market a blog instead of going the print route.  And need I even mention YouTube?  There’s so much less of a need for Senor Megalith, so I say, screw ‘im.

And I think that megaliths are being forced to listen a bit more, too.  It’s not always the same; the music and movie companies have fought democratization & distribution of media (I think because they know that they will not be able to monopolize the market anymore), newprint companies are scrambling, and book publishers are at least thinking about how to make it easier and cheaper (maybe even looking at more electronic means…?).  They have to listen more closely to what they audience is doing, and now the audience has more of a voice.

I don’t think the companies want massive blogging outcries, as it eventually trickles out to even those that don’t participate in Web 2.0 directly.  They’re listening, at least with one ear.  For now.


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