I read that, too

Much of the Internet is simply counter-intuitive. I think that’s one of the first thing you have understand to figure it out. The largest Web site on earth, Google, gets its traffic, for instance, by sending users away. There are other examples that, I’m sure, you’ve noticed.

But here’s a counter-intuitive doozie. The Internet with its terabytes of data and hundreds of thousand Web sites is actually accelerating media concentration, a concentration that threatens to reduce news to a few homogeneous sources. That’s roughly the conclusion of The Myth of Digital Democracy
by Matthew Hindman.
 
Writing about Hindman’s idea in the New Atlantis, Sebastian Waisman says:

Internet users rarely read blogs or visit political websites, and they gravitate towards large media outlets even more online than in print. Major newspapers like the Times and the Washington Post “have online traffic roughly 2.5 times their share of the print newspaper market,” Hindman writes, explaining that news consumption is “more concentrated online than in print,” with the top ten news outlets controlling more of the total online market than their hard-copy equivalents. The few online self-publishers who can claim to be successful are hardly ordinary; the handful of blogs that attract the lion’s share of attention are mostly run by professors, lawyers, and–drumroll, please–actual journalists.

What’s the cause of the problem. Why, the hyperlink, of course. Again, perfectly, counter-intuitive.

An interesting way of looking at the changes the Internet has wrought to media. Basically this theory says we’re guilty of clicking the first link in the Google search results and all reading the same info.

Thoughts?

One Reply to “I read that, too”

  1. The hyperlink is a tool of convenience. We follow them blindly and we often follow the first one we see. It’s not hard to believe that, when it comes to news, those links lead most people to the same places.
    Aggregator sites like Google News aren’t much help here either. If my usage pattern is any indication of the norm, I look for the big-name sites in the Google News results and visit those sites, not the more obscure outlets.
    But what’s the solution? Outlaw the hyperlink? No. Teach people to be careful users of the Web? Been tried; didn’t work.
    No answers here, I suppose. Just observations.

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