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The State of Online Content March 4, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Tech / Science.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Not too long ago we brought your attention to A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, and The Telegraph’s warning of the power of information on the internet.

Now a survey has surfaced that states most Americans now get their news online – hardly surprising.  We’d bet it’s a similar picture in the UK.  Accessing a wealth of information quickly, easily, and (in the vast majority of cases) for free is a no brainer.  But is receiving our news in this manner reliable, or indeed sustainable?

HighTalk.net doesn’t think so.

On the matter of newspapers and/or magazines publishing online versions of their content for free, HighTalk states:

“I’d argue that the online properties of offline publications aren’t truly offering “free” content.  It is subsidized content.  In other words, it is paid content that is being given away.  As I’ve argued before – free isn’t a good business model for journalism and I don’t believe the current state of “free” for newspapers and magazines is sustainable.”

Fair enough, you could argue.  Rupert Murdoch (founder of uber media beast News Corp, which also owns The Times and The Sun) has already said that giving away newspaper content for free is not a viable long term solution.

So what’s left?

Apart from Wikipedia and the odd and the occasional awesome blogger or expert, not much.  Then you find yourself slipping into the worlds of ‘spin’ and ‘deceit.’

HighTalk continues: “Spin is content generated by any source that has an agenda – political parties, non-profit organizations, corporations, activists, political action committees, trade associations, unions, and even branches of the government.  Spin isn’t necessarily “untruth” and, in fact, good spin uses reliable information to make its case.  When you get a bit of information from a friend it probably contains some of their spin – unintentional most of the time, but filtered through their own experiences and biases.”

“Deceit is outright lies or misinformation either by design or from ignorance.”

So how reliable is free content?  Are we walking blindly into a massive online world of Chinese whispers?  Or do most of us only really give a damn about articles involving cute kittens getting rescued by firemen?

Of course, BWT is never so lazy as to take existing content and then re-hash it for your reading pleasure.  Even though we’re essentially just doing that right now.  But never mind.  Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish ‘n’ chips wrapper.

Thanks HighTalk!



1. gfsnell3 - March 4, 2010

You’re welcome!

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