Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Best of the blog 2017

It was a media year full of apologies and, often times, of subjectivity over objectivity. Of post truth and alternative facts. It was also another year in which there was an oversupply of content, and business models in both the analog and digital worlds were called into question. We also saw things go from moments to movements. Some things came as a surprise, such as raccoons and squirrels showing up in places they were not expected. Others came as no surprise.  
(Ed. Note: That last one is a NYT link, so if you're saving your NYT clicks...)

Have we shifted to new norms for a new era? Time will have to decide that one.

In this tiny corner of the mediascape, i.e. this blog, I have run the numbers for the year, as is my annual custom, and here are the top 5 most popular posts of the year, in reverse order.

#5 From LOLcats to Rated Dogs

Coming in at number 5, and accounting 7% for all page views for the year it's the story of North Carolina college student Matt Nelson, and the media empire he started by, yes, rating dogs on the internet.


And you thought the internet ran on cats. That's so five years ago. Read the story of the We Rate Dogs phenomenon here.

#4 The Internet is Worth How Much???

Occupying fourth place, and representing 12% of the page views for 2017, is the post that asks and answers the question: What is the value of the internet to the U.S. economy? 

It also provides a look into what it is I do for a living, which is not always easy to explain.  Find out how on earth such a figure is arrived at by checking out the full post here.

# 3 The Internet: Where hundreds of millions of users does not equal a business model

At number 3, with 13% of all page views for the year in its corner, and continuing with the theme of internet economics is this post. It calls into question the widely held belief that the internet's enabling of the digitization of media products, coupled with low cost mass distribution, equals a goldmine. Particularly when you can sell digital advertising again 'eyeballs', to use industry parlance, use freemium business models in which some pay but most don't, or take engagement metrics to the bank, so to speak. Those measure such things as the amount of time people spend on your app, site, or service, the comments they leave, and whether or not they click 'like' or 'share'. While this has been the road to billions for Facebook they are the outlier. Read the full post on bewildering digital business models here.

#2 Taking on the Fake News Industrial Complex

With just a handful more page views than the #3 title holder is this post, which introduces you to Misinfocon, an event that went deep into the world of misinformation and disinformation pedlars, bringing together journalists, technologists, software developers, academics, advocates, investors, a counterintelligence expert working for the Department of Defense, and even a bona fide fake news site creator at MIT’s Media Lab earlier this year. Get the whole story here.


#1 The Digital Future & How It Happened

And the big winner, at #1, with 14% of all page views for the year it's this post, based on a conference keynote given back in January by Jeffrey Cole of USC Annenberg’s Center for the Digital Future. The gist of the talk was about how and why disruption, that oft used, if not, over-used term, happens, even though hindsight often makes things look so obvious.

Why didn't Blockbuster buy Netflix for a song when they had the chance? How and why did capital and infrastructure intensive businesses such as the hotel industry and the cab industry get blindsided by the likes of AirBnB and Uber? Read the full post for some insights into why things happen the way they do, particularly in the world of technology-based businesses.

And now I'll take a moment to thank you for reading and sharing the blog posts this year. It continues to be a labour of love, five long years into this exercise. Where things go with it in 2018 are yet to be seen but for now I thank you for joining me in this journey of publicly thinking through what I see as some of the most interesting puzzles of our time.