To understand what Web 2.0 means for media companies, we have to realize that an important shift has taken place. In many respects, individuals are using the same technology that large media companies are using to communicate: web sites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Consumers now see themselves as producers, creating and sharing media based on what they love doing. They are creating value directly for themselves. They are “doing their own thing” to create a following. They use media to build and extend their own social network. Each person is developing a “Me” network.
If traditional media profiled its audience through demographics and psychographics, a new generation of networked media will use what I am calling “socialgraphics.” We will begin to view audiences not as a set of individuals, like seats in a theatre, but as a cluster of interconnecting social networks. Each person’s social network comprises his or her identity and reflects a their relationships and activity in real-time. These interactions occur not on a single site but across the Web and over a variety of devices, bridging physical and digital worlds.
Most importantly, people and their activity are becoming visible as data. This data is dynamically changing, but it’s not a set of fixed demographic data. We can begin to understand in more detail how people come together in groups to explore their common interests and develop their relationships. Increasingly, we will have tools to explore the social graph associated with groups of people, but also with ideas and things.
As a magazine and book publisher, I am looking at how these tools can help me grow a networked media business.
Dale Dougherty is the founding editor and publisher of MAKE Magazine, creator of Maker Faire and a co-founder of O’Reilly Media.
Dale heads up Maker Media, which serves tech-savvy DIY enthuisasts. Maker Media produces Make Magazine, Maker Faire, and Make Television.
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