Chao Lam

Working on the next small things …

Long tail: Democratizing the tools of *consumption*?

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Chris Anderson kindly links my last post in the Long Tail elsewhere section of his blog. He also comments that he thinks “that’s part of Force 1”.

I’d never thought about it this way, so it go me thinking: maybe Force 1 isn’t just about democratizing the tools of production. It’s also about democratizing the tools of consumption. And, in fact, the line between tools of production and consumption are increasingly blurring.

First, let’s consider tools of consumption where the line isn’t blurred at all. Take Apple’s new announcement of the Video iPod this week. Certainly, by creating new and more convenient contexts to watch video, this iPod increases the demand of video content, both for the short head and the long tail.

However, because this new tool is about watching video in different and more convenient contexts, and because the videos are viewed in a very different form factor (i.e. small screen), I would argue that most users of the video iPod will be watching very different videos than what’s shown on the big screen or on your tube. Perhaps they would be training videos for people in the (remote) field, or perhaps enterprising podcasters are already producing video podcast particularly suited for the new tool.

My other thought is that tools for production and consumption are increasingly blurring and this is another aspect of Web 2.0 – we are becoming both consumers and increasingly producers of content. It’s the read-write web.

Take RSS aggregators as a tool, for example. Sure, many users use an aggregator to keep up with the many blogs and feeds they track. But many blog writers also use RSS aggregators to find new material to write about. So, RSS aggregators are both tools for content production and consumption.

Similarly, wikis have transformed browsers from being a read-only tool. And the revolution is only just starting…

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Written by Chao

October 16, 2005 at 8:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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