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The Future News System of the World

Saturday, March 21, 2009 by Dave Winer.

Tomorrow Jay Rosen and I are going to do our third Sunday podcast. These notes are for Jay in prep for the talk. In the spirit of being open and transparent. Permalink to this paragraph

Theme: I think Twitter is becoming the News System of the World and that scares the bejesus out of me. Here's why... Permalink to this paragraph

1. It's run by the tech industry, and the tech industry is very young and not very good about criticism.  Permalink to this paragraph

To illustrate.. A comment in a thread on FriendFeed, and unfortunately there's no way to point to a comment in context, so I'll reproduce it here.  Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named press.gif"On the other hand, I'm kind of glad that he put this out there in the open. I imagine it's the kind of things people at Google and Microsoft write about me when I criticize their products, except they don't have the guts to put them out there where we can see them. Truth is, the big companies, and Mozilla thinks it's one of them, do have this attitude about their users. This is why the tech industry can't be trusted to run the news networks, which is where it looks like it's going. Jay Rosen take note." Permalink to this paragraph

2. It's just a company, single point of failure, no route-around possible. At the same time, Twitter is having technical problems this morning. So even if they weren't just another tech company being fed constant reinforcment for the idea that the world revolves around them, it would still be unwise for the Future News System of the World to centralize on one company's set of servers. A company whose motives we know nothing about.  Permalink to this paragraph

An aside to Fred and Bijan, this is why people need to know the business model. What are we investing in? There is a public element to what Twitter is, I'd argue the public element is much bigger than the interests of one small tech company. Permalink to this paragraph

Why is all this an issue for a professor of journalism? Because we're going to wake up one day, probably very soon, and realize that this is the new News System of the World, it's no longer in the future, and it's going to be owned by one company -- and that is going to suck. Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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