An interesting article in BusinessWeek
poses an intriguing question: what is driving new media (think Web 2.0
) -- content builders or technology developers?
Because more people are blogging than are programming, BusinessWeek author Jon Fine suggests
that "In the tug-of-war between the right-brain of media and the left-brain of the platform builders, the latter have the upper hand."It's a chicken or the egg dilemma: would CMS even exist if it wasn't for content? Or does content exist because of the opportunity that CMS presents?
Fine sees that in Web 2.0, companies "continue to chart a new world in which novel forms and modes are actually being invented." This innovation fuels the reigning notion that those who "create an open platform let users play and connect, and watch the flowers bloom."
But without users, technology would lack purpose. Users often demand the expansion of technology, pushing it beyond the boundaries originally set.
Most platforms are launched to do one thing well. And when users are ready, other features are added. AOL's MyWeb, igoogle and other personalized home pages are examples of platform extensions that grew out of usability research
. As a result, it stretched the functionality of search engines to deliver interfaces users can manipulate.
Users should relish the power they wield
to influence those upon whom they rely to make their work more effective, while platform builders should relish in the power they have to provide new tools to (hopefully) enthusiastic adopters.
And that is why the relationship between content providers and platform builders is so crucial. Without effective communication between them, the upper hand of open platforms lies not with content or technology, but with the stifling mediocrity
that results from thinking that one is superior to the other.