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2.0 people who matter, and don't

Business 2.0 revealed their list of the 50 people who matter -- the moguls, geeks, organizations, and groups who are defining the media landscape. It's interesting to see the world of new media through the eyes of business journalists -- they are wary of internet hype after getting burned so often in the last decade, but still willing to engage in Web 2.0 hyperbole. "You! Consumer as creator" (should that be produser?) takes the #1 spot. The writeup on Jimmy Wales and Kevin Rose caught my eye.

The New New Media:
Kevin Rose (Digg) and Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia)

Old media is all about reinforcing the importance of the institution as the editorial filter. The new new media is all about the importance of the reader as the editorial filter. Tens of millions of users can create a collaborative intelligence that's far smarter than any one editor could ever hope to be.

Why does that seem so familiar? Oh yeah, Rolling Stone crowned Rob Malda (creator of Slashdot) the "king of new new media" back in 2000. (Sorry I don't have a link). The coronation was based on similar grounds: the primacy of "users" on Slashdot, the key element of participation, and so on. So, actually, Digg and Wikipedia are the new new new media. In Web2.0world, everything new is new again, and again. (Incidentally, those classy journos at Business 2.0 also released a list of people who don't matter anymore. Malda made this list.)

I've talked with colleagues often about the concepts of novelty and banalization. Banalization, or the loss of novelty for users of a technology, is a treacherous path for Web 2.0 applications. Technologies that survive the process flourish -- email, mobile phones, TiVo, maybe Wikipedia and Flickr. Other technologies fail once the novelty wears off (see the endless parade of social networking services) -- the service they provide is not something that can become effectively normalized, but is novelty itself. Massive investments are being made into social media, and it's not clear that these are much less risky than those made in the late 1990s. Cool still !necesarily= profit.

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