We Media analysis and links

I’ve been reflecting on our experiences at We Media Miami and digesting a great deal of reporting and analysis about what happened. It’s ALL been helpful. The diversity of viewpoints again underscores the eclectic and complex nature of “We” – and the promise of invention and innovation driven by the We Media community.A number of exciting ideas and outcomes emerged from our conversations in Miami, including a variety of projects and collaborations we’ll be talking more about in weeks to come.

Meanwhile, here are some We Media links:

  • You can find a still-growing archive from the forum – now with audio and some lovely photos: here.
  • Robin Miller of Slashdot produced a nice montage video – just ignore my babbling about cheese and skip ahead to the palm trees and sunshine.
  • The We Media blog includes a compilation of the “ahas” suggested throughout the forum.
  • Steve Rosenbaum, a film-maker-story-teller and newly funded CEO of Magnify.net, has been hanging and talking with us for several years. He sees how our conversation and the work of iFOCOS has moved forward. “Since my last visit with the WeMedia team, things are different. In an important way. It’s changed. the WE in WeMEDIA got bigger, the ‘MEDIA’, got smaller. Or more intimate, more more focused. Not sure which.” Steve, yes – and thanks for noticing.
  • Jemima Kiss must have typed her fingers to the bone with all of her live blogging and follow-up reporting for The Guardian, starting with our opening-round fire alarm and continuing this week with an item about Craig Newmark, who spent some of his time in Miami doing virtual battle with Wikipedians over the content of his own biography.
  • Rebecca Weeks, the director of business development for Real Girls Media (which just launched Divine Caroline) captured the frenetic flavor of a real-life forum with lots of people and ideas swirling around everywhere – sometimes you’re not sure who’s saying what. Kinda like when you say, “I saw it on the internet. Somewhere.” In Rebecca’s case, the Miami story incorporates the insights of “a panelist” and “an audience member.” Yes, I heard them too.
  • Rich Oppel, editor of the Austin American-Statesman, wrote for his newspaper that Miami seemed less rancourous than the previous two We Media forums – and I agree, “but a few grenades were tossed between the new and the old.” Rich wrote:

    The media are an unsettled lot today, with new media drawing audiences but rarely making money. Some rather ceremoniously swear off the almighty dollar.But not all. The angst rose when a panel of venture capitalists said they would insist on financial returns, traditional as that may be, and when foundation executives spoke of “investments” in new media based on performance instead of merely handing over money.

  • More on the angst and ennui of making money in Rich Skrenta’s follow-up thoughts. Rich, CEO of Topix, must have had a bleak flight back home. Citing the failure of Dan Gillmor’s Bayosphere, and many other citizen journalism projects that have “largely failed,” Rich wrote:

    By implicit definition, participatory media is non-commercial. If it’s commercial, someone owns it, and it’s not “we” anymore.

    That’s got to be especially bad news for the failed projects on his list that are new or still breathing – such as NewsTrust; but good news too, since NewsTrust is non-profit (Discosure: I’m an advisor). Is Rich right? I don’t think so, and I’ll elaborate on this down the road. To begin with, most new businesses fail. Period. Meanwhile, the definitions of success and failure have changed for media (though I’ll stipulate that going out of business counts as failure). Modest success – and profitability – is not failure. It’s the long tail, which leads to …

  • Wired Magazine editor/Long Tail author Chris Anderson was not in Miami, but like many others who weren’t there, he contributed to the conversation. He responded to Rich: “We Media is alive and well. It’s just the would-be We Media institutions that are not. A phenomenon is not necessarily a business. That doesn’t make it any less of a phenomenon.”