The New Media Back Up Plan (Or The Importance Of The New York Times Or The Unimportance of Digg)

An interesting discussion developed on Fred’s blog a few days ago about new media.

As we move into a niche culture certain things happen.Things get more efficient. It becomes easier to target people.

But something else happens.

The generalist becomes more and more important.


The advantage sites like The New York Times and CNN have in the new media paradigm is that they attempt to tell me what’s important from everywhere.

I don’t have time to visit every topic I want in detail.

Deep is very important.

But sometimes so is the surface.

People think that sites like Digg are disruptive.

They are not.

They are noise.

They are majority rule.

And the majority is almost always wrong.

The majority don’t like gays. Supported slavery for years. Would like everyone to speak English. And has made McDonalds the biggest restaurant in the world.

The truth is that as power moves to the smaller it makes perspective and context that much more important.

It makes the editor much more important.

A look at Digg World News shows nothing about the the wars going on.

You see nothing about political corruption which effects thousands of lives.

You do see the best smoking ad ever.

Note to self:If Digg’s the new media future, we need a backup plan.

Explore posts in the same categories: A VC, Anderson Cooper, bloggers, blogging, CNN, Digg, Fred Wilson, McDonalds, new media, nyt, old media, wars

23 Comments on “The New Media Back Up Plan (Or The Importance Of The New York Times Or The Unimportance of Digg)”

  1. Brian Says:

    Ummm, yeah. No arguments from me.

  2. TerryC Says:

    Nice different perspective.

  3. rafi Says:

    Excellent point especially as everyone starts using Pligg to create their own versions of Digg….

  4. Hashim Says:

    I don’t trust the group editing of Digg, or many of the narrow opinions on blogs in that circle.

    I’m still sore that with all the net industry blogs I’ve been reading for years, no one predicted the rise of MySpace. Actually, many of the bloggers I read didn’t “get” MySpace even after their traffic was growing like a weed.

    I know this is a little off topic from what you wrote, but I think it relates

  5. candice Says:

    “I’m still sore that with all the net industry blogs I’ve been reading for years, no one predicted the rise of MySpace.”

    That’s an age question. You have to be young to “get” myspace in the first place.

  6. sean coon Says:

    okay, let’s take one of your “majority” points as an example:

    the majority of people do not hate gays. most people couldn’t care less what someone else does in the privacy of their own home… well, that is until a capital rich, politically powerful, minority voice makes it a public issue and contextualizes it into all of our lives by pointed messaging and rhetoric of attacks on sacred institutions and subversive, choices of behavior.

    then the people that *really didn’t give two shits* in the first place, out of fear, start to expose hate and take the offensive.

    you’re right, *editorial is important*. the only problem is that editorial is, more often than not, staffed, salaried and handcuffed to their advertisers bottom line. so if you’re arguing for holding managing editors to task, i completely agree.

    but there’s more than enough room in the ether for some noise.

    rock on.

  7. chartreuse Says:

    Bloggers are sometimes out of the loop. We need to ride the bus more often and see wht’s ging on it the real world.

    And sean, thanks for making my point.

    For the record, and as I’ve said before, the constitution was made to protect the minority. Freedom of speech wasn’t put there to protect the voices people agree with. It’s to protect those who piss you off.

    The very thing which gives Digg power is the same thing which mkes it irrelevent.

  8. range Says:

    new digg, whatever. I find my own news. It was fun at the beginning, now all the whinning and spamming and bitching turned me completely off digg.

  9. Erik Says:

    You REALLY need to get out of NY and the Bay Area to do your research if you want to build something that truly reaches a mainstream audience.

    Take cell phones, if you hang out in NY or SiliValley you probably believe that Treo,s and Blackberry’s have a big market share, when in reality the biggest part of the cell phone market is the mid to lowr ange phones that come free with the contract.

    Now spend some time in Iowa or Kansas…

  10. Liz Strauss Says:

    Char, did you move to NY and the BAY Area when I wasn’t looking?


  11. i have a backup plan. Lots of traffic and hot in India, but found some cheap tickets on Farecast

    so let’s hit it. Robert Bruce can lead us

    thank god for deep (lol) techcrunch!


  12. By the way, the majority is where the big public companies come from so wrong is right here for the minority (rich people and VC;s).

  13. Bill Ross Says:

    >>They are noise. They are majority rule. And the majority is (let’s just say “often”) wrong.
    >> we need a backup plan

    Coudn’t agree more — all those Voice Of The People sites will inevitably and quickly descend to the lowest common denominator. (Of course, traditional media’s denominator ain’t so high either these days, is it?)

    But investors are in love with the idea of zero investment in content, so it may be that we have to wait through this pendulum to swing back before they start to appreciate the value of editorial.

    I was just moved to ‘log something about user-generated sites the other day, coincidentally enough, that claims, “You Get What You Pay For.” You put up a wall, thousands of people presumably throw, uh, “material” up on it, and presto! You’ve got yerself a happening site. But ultimately, visitors will figure out that it’s just a bunch of crap and stop coming.

    (btw, saw your thoughts here linked to in boston.com’s Business Filter.)

    Thanks for being willing to swim upstream on this strategy.

  14. Damon Barati Says:

    Noise, irrelevance? True. Same could be said about what one might read in any newspaper, or on CNN, or the local news broadcast.

    Before Digg, one would have to look for sources, compile a list, go to each one, sort through articles…. rather time consuming. Most, including myself, would stick with one – ccn, or msn, or yahoo news, etc…

    But now Digg let’s everything come in at one place, by everyone. Sure, maybe less than what? 2 percent, is what anyone would consider relevant to themselves, but a little fine tuning of some search strings and taking advantage of RSS feeds can make the job of finding news a lot easier than before, so they can find that one or two articles that might be of interest a lot easier than before. And that would be my recommendation to the digg folks, fine tune and make the search and filters I can use, better.

    Sure, if you want what you like spoon-fed to you by an editor, when will you know they slipped in some peas with that jello? Get to know the tools, and how to use them more effeciently so you can use the fork to get the peas out of the jello.

  15. canadianguy Says:

    I kind of agree but I think it’s a big assumption that digg will become the mainstream media source.

  16. chartreuse Says:

    Good points, folks.

    Regular readers of this blog know that I am a believer in niches. But I don’t think that means that sites like CNN are not important. That was my point.

  17. Ankit Says:

    I can`t agree more with you Chartreuse. Democracy has been responsible for some big time blunders. I covered same topic on Digg and Democarcy few weeks ago here.

  18. chartreuse Says:

    Nice post Ankit. Where have you been, anyway?

  19. chartreuse Says:

    And Damon, that jello/peas line is classic.

  20. Ankit Says:

    >>Nice post Ankit. Where have you been, anyway?

    Hi, We are building v2.0 for Instablogs, and thats keeping me hell lot of busy.🙂

  21. Vince Chan Says:

    Is Slashdot old media or new media or in between? They rely heavily on user submissions but also have editors too. Much has also been talked about Slashdot being overtaken by Digg.


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