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More On Culture Clashes Between Software And Story

Posted by: Jon Fine on April 4, 2008

This week’s column sought to plumb the tensions inherent when tech outfits run media companies, and also to revisit the chafing that’s occuring between traditional media companies and an ad-networked Web.

Not at all sure I succeeded! But if I didn’t, please let me know where and how I’m offbase.

Reader Comments


April 5, 2008 11:24 PM

You aren't off-base, the tensions exist primarily due to the following chasm:

Technology people look at content as the mere use of the technology they create, the data in a complex system, whereas media people look at content as the focus of people's attention.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in minor technological achievements like Peer to Peer software. Really "not a big deal" technology wise, this ended up creating mini-servers on napster user's machines that allowed others to download files. Hardly any different than existing software, but the user experience of being able to download, let's say, a Brazilian user's entire collection of music unavailable in the USA was an unimaginable experience in 1999. Yet, even as it's obvious to all that P2P software is nothing and the content available is everything, programming journals still downplay the importance of content in the scheme of the web. Why? Because it displaces them from the center of the universe.

Content providers, conversely, are used to having enough money to develop proprietary systems to present their information where their interests are preeminent- such as DRM.

All web ads are misguided anyway. I haven't clicked on an ad in months, but if Coca Cola put its name out there 200 times a day on various webpages, even without links and paying for no CPM, I'd probably stray from the overly complex Diet Dr. Pepper I planned to buy.

So given that I find the web advertising business centrally flawed and content vs tech at loggerheads for at least 5 more years, I wouldn't suggest you're off-base at all, if anything, you softballed this issue which will continue to waste corporate resources.

George Sylvie

April 9, 2008 10:38 AM


Why does it have to be either content or search that's king? Why not consumer-driven search for consumer-relevant content that the medium already provides to some extent? That's why newspaper's online audiences are more than 50% non-local and how Chris Anderson's "long tail" comes in. Go to and download my paper to understand more.

George Sylvie
Associate Professor
Univ. of Texas@Austin School of Journalism

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