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14/01/2006

Mainstream audiences need mainstream aggregators, says Guardian digital boss

Yesterday in a workshop on connected media and corporate communications a colleague asked me what the blog equivalent was.of Newsnow, the online news service.

He said that back in the day it took a demonstration of Newsnow to impress upon one or two of his clients the volume, relevance and significance of online media and to help introduce them to the idea as being something more than the preserve of enthusiasts.

Now there's no easy answer to that as far as I can see. There are a ton of aggregators trying out, but none that yet fill that Newsnow shaped space, as far as I can see. Not even Digg, with which I am currently fascinated and enthralled by.

Lloyd Shepherd , Deputy Director of Digital Publishing at Guardian Unlimited, sees a role for established media organisations as aggregators / filters of content for mainstream audiences.

We’re in a phase where new content is being created at a furious rate, but the tools for indexing and packaging it for a mainstream audience simply aren’t there yet. I believe they will come, and mainstream media will be a big supplier of them.

....Of course, this looks like anathema to the super-independence offered by mass amateurisation. But how’s your granny going to find the podcasts she likes? By using a social recommendation engine like Loomia? I don’t think so. She’s going to want her equivalent of the Radio Times, and who can blame her?

[Full post here.]

It's an argument that makes sense, as long as traditional media can come up with a Radio Times format that works before anyone else does.

It's a useful reminder to those of us immersed in blogs that this is still largely a game for geeks. There's a leap to be made before the majority takes to the medium. The leap is certainly going to be provided by aggregators in some form.

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