'Participatory media is non-commercial'

Topix.net CEO Rich Skrenta says:

There is actually a media revolution in the works. So what's going on here? By implicit definition, participatory media is non-commercial. If it's commercial, someone owns it, and it's not "we" anymore.

Furthermore, as soon as a new media venture crosses the line and tries to become a business, it either becomes a successful business or a failed one. Businesses aren't about ideology, they're about getting a job done and earning revenue to keep the thing going. Even wild success tends to leave ideology behind. Ideology is the realm of nonprofits and failures.

There is still a power law to success, and the few continue to reap disproportionate rewards, as they always have. Pub media turns out to be a farm league for big media. The bloggers who "make it" look more and more like regular media than "us". They graduate to to the A-list, and start to get lumped in and criticised along with the establishment. Success looks like a sellout to a big media company, or a good business doing job boards and conferences on the side to pay the bills.

Yes, there is a media revolution in the works. But it's messy, it's nasty videos on Youtube, not the neat & tidy civic Welcome Wagon of citizen journalism. You can't quit your job as a journalist and replace your salary with adsense on your blog. You'll be lucky to make beer money, let alone pay COBRA and fund your SEP-IRA.

And big media has been watching, and buying the winning ventures, and building their own platforms to -- yes you're right! -- exploit the new models.



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