Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Long Tail backlash, exposing flaws in mainstream media

I think for the most part anyone with a small entrepreneurial bone in their body instinctively understands the concept of the long tail.   Even more so if you have ever bought, or sold, something on the internet. 
Chris Anderson, the author of The Long Tail, writes this post in response the Wall Street Journal article that tries (unsuccessfully) to tear down the book and the concept. 

This comment from the Long tail blog reflects my thoughts...
"It seems that Gomes [the WSJ author] decided he was going to debunk the Long Tail, then let confirmation bias take over. Very disappointing."
I have a cynical view of media after doing a few years in TV News production for NBC.  Make no mistake that news rooms across the country are not interested in simply telling the facts.  They are looking for the stir things ALL topics, not just politics.  Simply writing an article stating that the Long Tail book is a good book and has valid points does not make for good reading.  Why?  Because you can already get that by simply reading the book.  So, the WSJ  needs a thought/concept they can call their own.  And the easiest way to get that is too either discredit the author, or find data that can be spun to support the "other side". 

Consider the fact that many people will cruise through the WSJ and read Gomes' article and simply "believe" Gomes argument because they place more credibility on the WSJ than an unknown author of a book.  That was pre-web and even web1.0.

Enter Web2.0, blogs, etc...

While the long tail is interesting to me the much bigger picture is how the bloggosphere has opened up the discussion.  Main stream media can still stoke the fire, but now we can participate in the conversation, and hear from the authors themselves as they engage in the debate with others.  I no long just have a small circle of friends to discuss interesting issues.  I have the entire globe and I can enter and leave the conversation at any time.

This is an overly simplistic view of a HUGE number of topics, but it was just on my mind and thought I would share.

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