May 14, 2008

Think list: Finding Niches of Information

Yesterday's filing deadline for local elections anchors the abstract for now.

Candidates had until 4 p.m. Tuesday to file for local offices. The local newspaper published an article about some of the county offices in the print edition and later online.

There also was one article about my local township board in print, but it didn't talk about the races I knew were possible because people had come to our door seeking petitions.

I checked online at 9 p.m. - nothing at the websites of the newspaper, 2 local TVstations, county or township.

Granted, this isn't a must-know NOW item but it personalizes for me the concept of news sites becoming circles of niches.

Of course, I should stop thinking sites and find something like FriendFeed or the Facebook News Feed.

The problem is what I ran into with Social Media when i tried to create a stream on news about the reorganization of Girl Scouts that is taking place. You can't draw resources together if none are created in a timely manner. (Or if people are deceptive and use the words Girl Scouts on their porn sites.)

Back to the filing deadline - I've got to believe that there were a few folks up at the Township Hall noting every filing. What if each had a way to post the list in a way I could find it when I wanted it?

Sure, some of them might blog about it. Eventually, the county and local goverment will post a list. But what if I could draw out the information now.

The term in some journalism circles would be crowdsourcing.

I think it could be the N = 1 idea outlined in The New Age of Innovation by C.K. Prahalad and M.S. Krishnan. John Soat sums up the N=1 idea by saying it is the ability of a business to interact with customers on an individual basis by co-creating value with them.

Krishnan explains it by saying it is co-creators of new knowledge.

I'm thinking that my new "newspaper" is going to be this collection of niches delivered to my mobile device on demand.

First draft ...

Wise folks skating to mobile

Just whipped through the May 12 Information Week magazine and it's hockey season - go Red Wings go - so I'm thinking news organizations ought to be skating toward mobile.

Information Week's Richard Martin wrote about the dangers of IT folks ignoring mobile device management, citing research from IDC that predicts growth - 63 million units by 2010 compared to 7.3 million in 2005.

And though the article is aimed at getting IT folks to think about how to manage the devices, it made me think that media companies - or journalists who want jobs - should focus on how to serve content over mobile devices.

Plus Eric Zeman in Our Take says "mobile sites will increase clicks." That article told about the increase in traffic for web sites with mobile sites: "An average of 13% over home PC traffic alone."

Zeman cites a Nielsen study that found a high of "22% for weather and entertainment" and quotes Jeff Herrmann as saying that mobile can help grow the pie.

I know I'm more likely these days to scan the web via the phone then the computer - and I'm old :-)

So it's time to follow Wayne Gretzky, who said “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

Forget print.

Forget web pages.

Skip to mobile.


And figure out what that means.